How HelloFresh Invests in decarbonizing its supply chain

Food production is responsible for almost a quarter of worldwide carbon emissions. At HelloFresh, we want to become the most sustainable food solution at scale and are committed to providing a more sustainable way to buy, prepare, and enjoy food. That’s why avoiding and reducing emissions is an integral part of our corporate strategy. 

We follow a holistic approach to decarbonize our supply chain. Besides further minimizing food waste, innovating and reducing packaging is a core pillar of reducing emissions throughout our operations. Our recently published non-financial report shows that we are making great progress in reducing our plastic packaging: In 2023 we reported a 32% reduction in plastic and mixed packaging per meal compared to 2020, in our meal-kit vertical. 

Focus on renewable energy for food production and last mile

Transitioning to renewable forms of energy such as solar, wind and hydropower as well as green delivery is another important lever in HelloFresh’s decarbonization efforts. Where possible, we purchase renewable sources of electricity from our energy suppliers and generate our own electricity onsite. In 2023, three new solar photovoltaic (PV) projects started running in the Nordics, US, and Australia, in addition to our current solar PV systems in the Benelux and Australia. As of today, 45% or our total energy consumption comes from renewable energy sources.

We are also heavily investing in decreasing emissions caused on the last mile and continue to expand our own chilled electric fleet powered by renewable energy as well as our cargo bike deliveries. In the Benelux region we already reached an average 72% emission-free deliveries in 2023 with electric vans - compared to 48% in 2022 and 10% in 2021. But we are also making progress in other markets and increasing the number of electric vans in Germany and France. In the US, e-van delivery was piloted in 2022 and we continued our efforts to electrify our fleet across a number of states in 2023. In addition to this we started to use cargo bikes in some parts of the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.

Cargo bike delivery in Kiel, Germany

Lowering the carbon footprint of our ingredients 

Reducing the carbon footprint created in our ingredient supply chain will be our biggest challenge in the long run. In 2022 we did a Life Cycle Assessment that analyzed the environmental footprint of our whole value chain from field to fork. It showed that 56% of greenhouse gas emissions in the HelloFresh food supply chain come from our ingredients. Educating and enabling our customers to choose meals with lower emissions is something we already do: we label recipes in the weekly menu that generate the least amount of carbon emissions, less than half of the average HelloFresh dish emissions, to promote climate conscious meal choices.

Carbon Insetting Fund to drive further innovations with our suppliers

Even though our customers’ food choices make a big impact, it’s clear that we need to do more to lower the emissions of our food products - together with our suppliers. This is why HelloFresh launches a carbon insetting fund to invest in our suppliers. By enabling them to produce their food in a more sustainable way, we will be able to lower the carbon footprint of our food solutions.

The overall carbon footprint of the ingredients we use varies significantly based on factors such as the farming practices, the land use change, animals' diet and our suppliers' energy sources. Carbon insetting involves HelloFresh investing in its supply chain to reduce carbon emissions in food production. This includes initiatives like promoting regenerative agriculture, low-carbon production practices, utilizing renewable energy, and implementing innovative carbon capture and storage technologies.

In order to understand how we can better invest in our supply chain, we will host online workshops with some of our suppliers to discuss innovative and impactful best practices, together with other industry leaders. 

In parallel, we are already engaging with suppliers to gather their primary data on emissions and analyze their current decarbonization projects. HelloFresh plays a pivotal role in promoting these initiatives, as part of our long-term relationship with suppliers.

Repurposed chicken feed at Oranjehoen farm

There are many great examples within the HelloFresh supplier network already using innovative methods for reducing their products’ emissions. In the Netherlands we are for example working with the supplier Oranjehoen which is a chicken producer that uses circular farming methods. They are repurposing food waste coming from our HelloFresh production sites for chicken feed. Their practices reduce CO2 emission almost by half compared to conventional chicken farming, lower food waste and provide better animal welfare practices. 

“We deliver over a billion meals per year and we are committed to decrease the environmental impact of those meals by further innovating the way we source and deliver food. By the end of 2024 HelloFresh wants to start investing in the first carbon insetting projects I’m very excited to take our approach to innovating our food supply chain to the next level and partner up with our suppliers”, said Tilman Eichstädt, COO Upstream for HelloFresh. 

Learn more about our sustainability updates in our 2023 non-financial report

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