Figuring out what to have for dinner, week in, week out, can be a real chore. So a week’s worth of meals already planned out for you by Nadia Lim, which meet all requirements – delicious, nutritious, fresh, and easy to make – that turn up at your door? Super convenient. For a conscious consumer, the story doesn’t end there, though. Deliveries come in packaging and fresh food needs to adhere to strict safety requirements, all of which can add up to a heavy burden on the planet.
My Food Bag (MFB), the recipe and ingredient delivery service co-founded by celebrity foodie Lim, wasn’t prepared for that to be the price. And the measures they’re taking to not only minimise their environmental impact but to actively promote and support healthier alternatives is heart-warming. Last year the business moved to using 100 per cent recyclable boxes for their deliveries, which are made from 50 per cent recycled cardboard, 50 per cent virgin board. As part of the company’s circular recycling objective, MFB is always on the lookout for better, more sustainable solutions. “Our supplier partners all play an important role in helping us be more sustainable too,” says MFB CEO Kevin Bowler.
One such partner is Woolcool. When MFB were searching for a natural insulation product that would keep ingredients in peak condition, Woolcool, which is recyclable or compostable, ticked the boxes. “It also contains New Zealand wool, which means we’re supporting local farmers. We pick up the Woolcool from our foodies, remove the sleeve (for health and safety reasons) and reuse it for the next customer,” says Bowler.
Joanne Howarth, CEO of Planet Protector Packaging, which produces Woolcool notes there is more and more urgent pressure for companies to transition away from plastics and polystyrene. “It’s great to see so many companies so passionate about the environment and sustainability and wanting to look at alternative solutions,” says Howarth.
Rodney Orton, MFB’s head of procurement, says finding sustainable solutions is not always as straightforward. “There is not a lot of information out there on what is considered most sustainable and what should be avoided,” says Orton.
To this end, in conjunction with The Sustainable Business Network, MFB helped fund a joint sustainability project into how, together, they can help create a better New Zealand. “It’s important we ‘have our finger on the pulse’ of new sustainable products suppliers are creating, and that we push them to develop them,” Orton says.
One recent notable achievement was the decision to change their meat packaging from black to clear, so that it is kerbside recyclable. “We continue to forego some of the ‘nice-looking’ product elements for sustainable packaging, more of which will be rolled out over the coming months,” says Orton.