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Meal kits have greener footprint than store-bought meals

A new study by the University of Michigan shows meal kits avoid common grocery store food losses through a direct-to-consumer meal kit model.

In recent years several seafood companies have jumped on the meal-kit bandwagon, following the trend of retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart.

And now, home-delivered meal kits can tout more than just being convenient, easy-to-prepare meals. A University of Michigan study recently found they have a much lower overall carbon footprint than the same meals purchased at a grocery store, despite having more packaging.

Average greenhouse gas emissions were one-third lower for meal kit dinners than the store-bought meals when every step in the process—from the farm to the landfill—was considered, according to the study.

The study showed pre-portioned ingredients and a streamlined supply chain lower the overall food loss and waste for meal kits compared to store-bought meals.

It also found the carbon footprint for grocery-bought meals exceeded that of home-delivered meal-kits for five meal types: salmon, chicken, pasta and salad.

Annual US meal kit sales reached an estimated $3.1 billion (€2.8 billion) in 2018 with a growth rate of nearly 22 percent, according to the Packaged Facts research firm.

In a 2018 Nielsen survey, 9 percent of US consumers surveyed said they had purchased a meal kit, while 25 percent of respondents said they would consider trying a meal kit in the next six months.

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