Living through lockdown is like Groundhog Day.
The days repeat and merge into each other. Damp days of staying at home and barely communicating with any other humans.
Even food is getting boring!
We’ve been preparing the same old things for dinner. It was time for a little variety, to try something different. Since we can’t go out, eat or drink out or go on holidays, we decided to experiment with meal deliveries.
We had vouchers for Hello Fresh (they always have voucher offers). I should point out that I’ve not been paid by Hello Fresh and the links are not affiliate links, this review is just my opinion… and a small rant!
How Sustainable is It?
We’ve successfully avoided the supermarket since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
So far as possible, we have tried to support local businesses. The family-owned corner shop has an excellent selection of well-priced basics, and no queues! We shop locally and are lucky enough to have everything we need within walking distance of our urban Bristol terrace. We get deliveries from local suppliers and being in such a diverse city, can get a whole array of excellent quality and unusual products right to our doo – thank you Good Sixty and WeAreBS3!
Often not the cheapest, but the quality is better, products are more likely to be ethically sourced, packed in less plastic, haven’t been shipped around the planet and every order to a small independent business is money in the pocket of a person doing a happy dance. Instead of an investment company for shareholders of faceless multinational corporations that are disproportionately stripping the planet of its finite resources.
Although I’ve enjoyed getting fruit and veg boxes, I am wasting more food this way. However, that may stop as I have been reading up on Preserves and Fermentation – something for another blog!
The motivation for ordering meal boxes was to just get the ingredients we need, plus meal plans for our week, alleviating that end-of-a-busy-working-day stress of “What’s for dinner?”.
I also thought it would help me to be more creative with my own recipes. To try something different and get inspiration and ideas.
We’ve had weekly Hello Fresh deliveries for a couple of months.
The recipe cards are easy to follow with some lovely recipes. In general, the meals have been good.
We’ve had few fails with missing ingredients but I’ve usually been able to substitute from my pantry. But, there is no easy way to report the missing items to Hello Fresh – a frustrating lack of customer service.
Often the basic ingredients are the same, but the recipes are relatively diverse – to a point.
After a couple of months, we’ve had repeats, and things that I would probably make at home anyway (but better, such as pasta with meat and tomatoes, but I’d add more veg than their recipes call for).
Overall, it’s been a positive experience. It has given me ideas in the kitchen to be more creative but – and this is a BIG but – so much single-use-bloody-plastic!
In fairness, the individual meals are in paper bags and most of the veg is loose – but not all of it.
Plastic bagged herbs, plastic bagged potatoes (why wrap potatoes in cellophane?).
So many little plastic sachets!
I get that plastic preserves food, but why not use biodegradable alternatives? There are biodegradable cellulose and other products available that would keep the food fresh enough for long enough.
Why use plastic trays which are ‘recyclable’ but in reality, rarely are recycled. Even when you do put them in curbside recycling there’s a high probability they are getting shipped overseas to plastic mountains or ending up in landfill anyway. ‘Recyclable’ is not good enough. Let’s not produce the waste in the first place!
When other perishables are packaged in dense cardboard packing alternatives, why are Hello Fresh still using plastic?
I’ve been really disappointed with the amount of single-use plastic.
This image is an example of a typical meal pack and all the single-use plastic it creates:
“Recyclable is not good enough. Let’s not produce the waste in the first place!”
The recipes are designed to be really simple.
If you are learning to cook for yourself, this is probably a good introduction. Now we have tried a few meals, the amount of waste means we have now canceled our box.
We have, however, decided to try MindfullChef. On the face of it, their waste looks minimal and the recipes are a little more adventurous.
We’ve not had our first box yet, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go and seeing how it compares
Mindful Chef has lots of good environmental credentials, but still too much single-use plastic. We’ve canceled this one since too and have recently tried Gousto.
Again, a fair bit of plastic, but on balance, not as much as the others and their literature says they are committing to plastic-free by 2022 – which is a start, I suppose…