New York City-based Just Salad has long been a leader in sustainability amongst restaurant chains, but its latest packaging development puts it even further ahead of competitors. The fast-casual salad chain unveiled meal kits – named Housemade – in January. The kits are made from almost entirely recyclable packaging.
Just Salad made a name for itself more than 10 years ago when it introduced its reusable bowls, which have now become synonymous with the brand, and Housemade takes aim at another area of waste – meal kits.
Chief sustainability officer Sandra Noonan explained to Nation’s Restaurant News that the brand wanted to find a way to make meal kits with a positive environmental impact rather the negative impact many currently have.
Currently, many programs mail kits to participants in large, bulky packaging with an ice pack, cardboard box and individually wrapped ingredients. Just Salad worked hard to eliminate most of that waste.
To accomplish this, the team at Just Salad spent months researching meal kits after seeing the success of the brand’s introduction of groceries with Just Grocery last March. The company aims to continue Just Grocery on the same ordering platform as Housemade.
The process included investigating academic papers that covered the environmental waste associated with current subscription meal programs. Just Salad says its meal kit is 95% better for the environment than any other subscription. Almost every element is recyclable. The exception is the spice container, which is compostable. The meal kit even comes with instructions on how to recycle each piece.
These instructions are aimed at “wish-cycling,” which Noonan told NRN in this week’s Extra Serving podcast is rampant among consumers who want to recycle but often don’t do it right because they are unsure.
In addition to recyclable packaging, the label on the bag showing what’s inside is removable and dissolves entirely in water within 30 minutes.
See the video below to learn about each individual piece of the meal kit from Just Salad’s chief marketing officer, Andy Rooks.
And to hear about the entire program, including the food elements, future plans for Just Grocery and the research and development behind the meal kits, listen to this week’s episode of Extra Serving.
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