Want to cut food waste? Try a meal kit
The average Kiwi household throws about 3.15kg of food waste away – and a whopping 8 percent of that is leftovers.
Yep, the remains of the salad bowl, those cooked spuds, that spag bol you didn’t quite finish but thought someone would get around to eating – you had great intentions though!
There’s no denying that meal kits help reduce food waste. In fact, that’s one of the big reasons why meal kits like My Food Bag, Woop and Hello Fresh work.
One of the Hello Fresh meals. Photos / June-Ann Russell
Meal kits aim to provide the precise amount of ingredients for each meal. Other reasons why they’re popular is the wide variety of dinners, the easy delivery and menu planning that saves you time – and the fact that each meal is carefully thought out in terms of nutrition, so you get your five-plus vegetables a day.
But for those of you who’ve actually used meal kits you’ll know there’s always that week where you’ve forgotten you’re going out for dinner and won’t be able to make that, say, chicken with Asian greens recipe.
Oh and you also forgot to pause the delivery. Whoops!
If you’re smart and organised, when the delivery arrives (usually on a Sunday or Monday) you’ll pop all the fresh produce like bok choy, tomatoes and cos lettuce into your vegetable crisper with a Freshkeeper sachet.
That way if you don’t get round to eating one particular meal until say, Thursday, at least you know all the accompanying vege is still crunchy and fresh when you do finally get round to cooking it. If there are lemons or apples for slaws, also pop them in the crisper with the nifty little Freshkeeper sachet.
Although meal kits are tailored to the size of your family and portioned out accordingly, do you find you still have leftovers? Perhaps not meat – especially if there are hungry men and growing boys around – but as Freshkeeper blogger and foodie June-Ann Russell found, there almost always seems to be a bit of leftover salad, coleslaw, potatoes and, on occasion, couscous with vegetables.
She has tried three of the leading meal kit services. Here’s her ‘leftover’ verdict for each one…
We are currently doing this meal plan kit. After a few weeks, happy to report I’ve only had to throw out a bit of slimy spinach salad and an old tomato. There was this particularly yummy cream Parmesan sauce that came with the Hello Fresh steak recipe and we didn’t get through it all so I put it in the freezer for a later date. Hopefully I’ll remember it’s there in a month’s time!
Did My Food Bag for two three-month stints about a year ago. With its great emphasis on nutrition, there’s always loads of vegetables, and I could have easily turned the leftover potatoes into hash cakes, added them to a frittata – but I didn’t. And that salad I chucked away? It would have been great with chicken or some other protein or even turned into sandwiches… again, I didn’t. Note to self: Next time, love food, hate waste.
That said, My Food Bag is currently working hard to become a zero food waste business – that’s Freshkeeper’s ethos too – and any of the bags MFB doesn’t use are given to families in need. Very cool.
It’s quite gourmet this one, and everything about the Woop meal plan kit is very carefully organised so we found there weren’t many leftovers. Much of the veg was cut up – like pumpkin for a risotto or parboiled spuds for duck fat roasted potatoes. Tried it for a month and we had zero leftovers because it was so delicious. But, said hubby, sadly not much chance of having seconds!
by June-Ann Russell