HelloFresh meal kits cause lower carbon emissions than supermarkets

  • Meals from HelloFresh meal kits cause an average of 25% lower carbon emissions than meals with ingredients from supermarkets in the regions studied
  • ISO 14040 compliant Life Cycle Assessment analyses environmental footprint of meals across the whole value chain of meal kits and supermarkets
  • Ingredients are by far the biggest contributor to emissions, followed by distribution

HelloFresh published a technical summary of its ISO 14040 compliant life cycle assessment (LCA)1 showing that meals from HelloFresh have significantly lower carbon emissions than cooking meals from supermarkets. Insights gained from this critically reviewed study are part of HelloFresh’s newly published Sustainability Report which displays the progress of the groups’ ambitious sustainability strategy.

Lean on-demand supply chain enables more sustainable food solutions than supermarkets

The in-depth life cycle assessment analyses the environmental footprint across the whole value chain from field to fork in seven HelloFresh markets (Germany, Austria, Australia, USA, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) covering different meal categories, including vegetarian, beef and chicken dinners. The analysis considers the entire supply chain including food production and delivery. The study’s results show that an average meal from HelloFresh has 25% lower CO2e emissions, compared to the exact same meal prepared with ingredients purchased from a supermarket. One meal from a HelloFresh meal kit causes on average 3.7 kg CO2e emissions compared to 5.0 kg per meal cooked with supermarket ingredients. This proves that HelloFresh’s on demand meal kits with ingredients in exact quantities are efficient and its meals have a lower climate impact than meals prepared by buying comparable food at a supermarket.

The study also reveals that ingredients are by far the biggest contributor to emissions, followed by distribution. The main differentiator between the meal kit providers and supermarkets is HelloFresh’s data-driven subscription business model that enables forecasting weekly customers’ food demands which results in lower volumes of unsold inventory and food waste. Additionally HelloFresh’s  significantly shorter supply chain eliminates unnecessary middlemen and logistics.

reduce co2 sustainability

Carbon emissions: Well on track to achieve the 2022 goal

In addition to the LCA study the HelloFresh 2021 Sustainability Report shares the groups’ key sustainability achievements. Compared to the 2019 baseline, HelloFresh had achieved a 48% reduction of CO2e emissions by the end of 2021 from its production facilities on a per euro revenue basis.  Therefore the company is well on track to achieve the ambitious 60% goal set for the end of 2022. Investing into green energy is a key pillar of HelloFresh’s emission reduction strategy. The share of green electricity consumed in HelloFresh’s distribution centres and offices increased to 51% in 2021 from 7% in 2019.

“Sustainability has always played an important role at HelloFresh and I am excited that the life cycle assessment officially verifies our assumptions that food bought through HelloFresh causes less carbon emissions than supermarket bought food. Over the past couple of years we have significantly increased our investments into our sustainability-related efforts and we won’t stop here. From increasing our share of green energy to expanding our electrified delivery fleets, we have an ongoing commitment to create an even more sustainable service for our customers”, says Thomas Griesel, co-founder of HelloFresh.

Ongoing efforts to reduce food waste

In 2021, 10 thousand tonnes of unsold, fresh edible food were donated to charities that help support communities facing food insecurity. This represents 68% of the total surplus food from HelloFresh operations. In addition to donating surplus food, HelloFresh donated 1.5 million meals throughout the US as part of the company’s “Meals with Meaning” program, which was also launched in the UK in October 2021.

About HelloFresh

HelloFresh SE is a global food solutions group and the world’s leading meal kit company. The HelloFresh Group consists of six brands that provide customers with high quality food and recipes for different meal occasions. The Company was founded in Berlin in November 2011 and operates in the USA, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, France, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Japan. In 2021 HelloFresh delivered almost 1 billion meals and reached 7.2 million active customers in Q4 2021. HelloFresh went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2017 and has been traded on the DAX (German Stock Market Index) since September 2021. HelloFresh has offices in New York, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Sydney, Toronto, Auckland, Paris, Copenhagen, Milan and Tokyo.

1The LCA Study was peer reviewed by an independent panel of three experts in conformity to the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards for public disclosure of results. A technical summary of the study including details of the basis of our comparative claims can be found at this link.