- Vegan meal-kit company Purple Carrot is rolling out 100% recyclable packaging within the next few weeks. According to a company press release, the new corrugated boxes are made from 95% post-consumer material, utilizing a recycled cellulose paper fiber liner and 100% water-filled ice packs that are drain-safe and environmentally disposable.
- To ensure ingredients are fresh when delivered, the company's packaging will also be optimized by season, transit time and facility location.
- "Given the urgency of addressing the significant environmental issues we all face, we encourage other meal kit companies to invest in sustainable packaging solutions to help address this industry-wide issue," CEO Andy Levitt said in the release.
As the meal kit category continues to move toward a shakeout, innovation is a necessity. Whether Purple Carrot’s new packaging solutions will be a big enough differentiator to help the company gain market share is yet to be seen, especially since Purple Carrot is not the only meal kit company embracing sustainable packaging. Sun Basket’s kits are delivered in recyclable packaging. Terra's Kitchen ships orders in reusable plastic boxes that can be sent back to the company. HelloFresh, now the largest meal kit service in the U.S., has also invested more in sustainable packaging.
Still, Purple Carrot’s new packaging certainly won’t hurt the company. Research from Nielsen indicates that 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. That number jumps to 73% with millennials, who also are driving the meal kit trend in general.
The move could also create loyalists out of Purple Carrot’s more occasional fans. The rollout is consistent with Purple Carrot’s 100% plant-based approach aimed at improving “our own health and the health of our planet.” Customers consciously seeking a vegan meal may do so from Purple Carrot more often now that the guilt barrier of packaging waste has been removed. The timing is right, as this specific customer base is projected to grow; plant-based consumption is expected to double to $25 billion in 2020.
Purple Carrot’s new packaging may also force other companies to expedite their own sustainable packaging efforts. Wasteful packaging has been one of the major pain points for meal kit consumers — millennials especially — who increasingly demand sustainability.
Revamped packaging could also provide some relief for meal kit companies themselves as they seek to reduce notoriously high overhead costs. Any solution — whether it’s Purple Carrot’s 100% recyclable packaging, Kroger’s packaging reduction, or something in between — is critical in this space that is desperate to generate customer loyalty.