HelloFresh’s take on reducing food waste while helping others

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), one-third of the food produced worldwide is being wasted. This is not only a problem because of the emissions caused by the food that ended up in landfills, but also because this food could have helped millions of people facing food insecurity. 

For HelloFresh, having a low-waste supply chain is part of our business model and an essential element of our sustainability approach. We have set ourselves the tangible goal to reduce food waste sent to landfill from our facilities by 50% per euro of revenue until the end of this year. While our predictive algorithms enable us to procure only what our customers will order, some uncertainty remains leading to small amounts of overordering. Our production and operation teams use digital tracking platforms that allow us to keep an overview of the inventory in our production facilities and the remaining shelf life of ingredients in real-time. In this way, we can identify which food is not needed for the production of our meal kits anymore and we can donate it to people in need. For this purpose, we have set up different donation programs in each of our markets to donate surplus food to communities facing food insecurity. 

Some of the organizations we partner with include The Felix Project, The Belgian and Netherlands Federation of Food Banks, The Campaign Against Hunger, FoodBank, Kiwi Harvest, Dignity, Banco Alimentare, Les restos du Coeur, and many more.  

There is more than one way to give back

In the UK we partner with the Felix Project to whom we donated over two million meals in 2022 alone. In Belgium and the Netherlands, we work together with a number of different food bank partners to distribute more than one million meals per year to communities facing food insecurity. This includes not only surplus food from our production facility but also any boxes that could not be delivered to our customers for logistics reasons (e.g. road closures). These boxes are opened and repacked by some of our employees who volunteer half a day every month to divert these ingredients to local food banks.

In the United States, our food donations and charity program is called Beyond the Box for which we collaborate with more than 40 partners across the country. Beyond the box is probably our most sophisticated charity program (due to the size of the US market) and it offers many different ways of reaching communities. 

In the Denver area we have teamed up with the organization We Don’t Waste for a project called Community Fresh Markets. The Green Chef-sponsored market (Green Chef is one of six brands belonging to HelloFresh Group) is held monthly, and with the help of local volunteers - including HelloFresh employees - approximately 200 families can pick from a variety of fresh produce, proteins, and dairy items, at no cost. 

Community Fresh Market in the Denver area in the United States.

Meals with meaning is a program that provides free meal kits to individuals experiencing food insecurity, with each kit containing HelloFresh ingredients and step-by-step recipe cards to create home-cooked meals. Within this initiative, we work directly with local community organizers who volunteer their time to pack and deliver these boxes right to people’s doorsteps. Meals with meaning also includes the opportunity for our customers to contribute directly by donating their meal kits to people in their region facing food insecurity.

And lastly, we have the Lime aid project which is a Nomination program that provides support to families and individuals facing humanitarian crises, natural disasters and other states of food insecurity. Any HelloFresh customer can nominate someone they know for this program. Selected recipients will be given a promo code to receive twelve HelloFresh boxes at no cost to be used within a one-year period.

Also in other markets, HelloFresh empowers its customers to contribute to charity. During the Christmas holiday, the HelloFresh app and website in Canada feature a donation button with which customers can donate their box or money to our charity partner “The Daily Bread Canada”. The teams in Belgium and the Netherlands conduct Christmas Donation Campaigns as well where they raise money for food banks with the support of HelloFresh customers. And in the UK, we have also partnered with the Felix Project and other organizations to ship boxes that our customers donate to people in need. To support this program HelloFresh also produces additional boxes that go straight to donation. So far we have been able to deliver more than 15.000 meals this way. 

Generating spaces for food literacy

In addition to our food donations, we are also creating spaces that revolve around food security awareness and education on how to eat better: the Hunger Matters Program in partnership with the HelloFresh US Culinary team provides recipes and video content for individuals and families to make nutritious, budget-friendly recipes at home.
“Hunger Matterswas created to bridge our dialogue with the people we serve by providing wholesome recipes centered around simple ingredients, sustainability tips to reduce food waste, and resources to live better”, said Pooja Pelham, Social Impact Manager US.

In the Netherlands, the local team has implemented a cooking workshop with one of our food bank partners and the communities they help. This way we are not only giving them food but also the tools, recipes and techniques, to have delicious healthy and budget-friendly meals. And with our FreshGardens initiative in the UK anyone can grow their own fruits or vegetables while learning gardening skills and more sustainable kitchen habits. “These gardens give people vital access to nature and food growing spaces, helping local people grow their own vegetables, reduce waste, and get to know their neighbors at the same time”, said Sophie Antonelli Training Manager at Social Farms & Gardens.

We all share the same interest in helping one another

Besides all our food-related donations there are a lot of different local initiatives being developed by our teams in different countries. In the Berlin office employees can donate their old winter clothes that are still in good condition to the Berliner Stadtmission from where they are distributed to the homeless. The numerous HelloFresh Employee Resource Groups (ERG) around the world also regularly organize fundraisers among employees. The Berlin-based FreshPride ERG for example organized a fundraising raffle with items from queer-owned businesses and all money raised was donated to an LGBTQIA+ organization in Berlin.

Employees at the Berlin FreshCampus donating Winter Clothes for the homeless.

Another initiative that started from within HelloFresh employees themselves was the Ukrainian relief donations that, with the help of different organizations like Polish Food Banks Federation, Polish Red Cross and Aid Pioneers, and transportation from DB Schenker and Sennder we were able to deliver over 1,285 tons of food from our distribution centers in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden since March 2022. And also from the United States, HelloFresh sent shelf-stable ingredients to Ukraine via Poland from where a charity partner brought a full truck of ingredients to people affected by the war.

Donation in Ukraine

We are very proud of all our HelloFresh employees who are committed to doing good and investing their time and effort to help those in need. In 2023 we will continue supporting the communities we are operating in and are looking forward to finding more donation partners and exploring further ways to make an impact.

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