Amid a proliferation of meal delivery services, new companies are looking for ways to reduce packaging waste. 

Meal Kits
Credit: © Ben Wiseman

It's not news that meal kit delivery services are having a moment: Between companies like Blue Apron, Marley Spoon, Purple Carrot, and many, many others, there are more ways than ever for home cooks to get boxes of premium groceries delivered to their doorsteps. But as consumers experiment with the options in this ever-expanding market, one common concern is the way that the kits are packaged. Most are sent in cardboard boxes; and many companies use small plastic bottles to transport individual servings of oils, vinegars, and spices.

After a week of experimenting with a variety of meal kits, writer Marisa Meltzer found that she "was monopolizing my building’s recycling bins," she wrote, in a piece for Food & Wine.

As Meltzer notes, companies have become recently become more conscious of their environmental impact. Plated uses recyclable liner bags in its boxes, and Blue Apron is working on packaging exchanges. Now, new entries into the marketplace are putting a premium on low-waste packaging—and companies like Terra's Kitchen are using this angle as a selling point in what is becoming an incredibly competitive marketplace.

According to FoodNavigator-USA, Terra's Kitchen ships its ingredients in a reusable, eco-friendly delivery vessel, which the company then picks up from the customer and reuses. Still, the ingredients within the vessel are packaged in individual (albeit recyclable) containers, like most other meal kit companies.

The industry has a long way to go before its environmental impact is as low as many consumers would like to ultimately see it. But competition for the title of "best low-waste service" seems like a good place to start.