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Just Salad, the healthy fast casual restaurant chain, has launched a new meal kit brand billed as the first-ever no-subscription, zero-prep and plastic-free option of its kind. Named Housemade, Just Salad describes it as the “next generation of meal kits” and says that it has gone “above and beyond” to provide the most sustainable service designed to fight plastic and food waste.
Officially launched at the start of this year, Just Salad’s newly launched Housemade service is set to “reinvent” the sector by bringing on board new sustainability features that don’t compromise on the convenience that consumers love about meal kits. What the brand offers is a range of prep-free, one-pan meal kits delivered to doors (on bikes) within 60 minutes – the hassle-free experience people are after as cooking from home is set to be the long-term reality amid the pandemic – but in absolutely zero-plastic packaging.
“We’re launching the next generation of meal kits,” said Nick Kenner, founder and CEO of Just Salad. “We’ve been able to go above and beyond to provide the most sustainable meal kit packaging out there. This is going to be a game changer for the meal kit industry.”
While the containers are curbside-recyclable or compostable, the labels used on each product are water soluble, leaving behind no waste. Recipe cards, on the other hand, contain explicit disposal instructions, simplifying the entire process for consumers to practice environmental responsibility, but still ensuring that it’s all done properly. According to Just Salad, their service slashes packaging by 90% compared to standard options on the market.
We’re launching the next generation of meal kits. We’ve been able to go above and beyond to provide the most sustainable meal kit packaging out there.Nick Kenner, Founder & CEO, Just Salad
But it goes beyond tackling plastic waste. Housemade is designed to fight food waste too – one of the biggest challenges our planet faces today, given that wasted or lost food accounts for a whopping 10% of global carbon emissions alone.
Just Salad says that the service is available in single servings – something that most meal kit brands don’t offer as they run on subscription-based models, which ensures that customers are really only ordering what they want and will consume, and nothing more that adds to the enormous pile of food cities waste every day. Of course, Housemade also offers multiple serving meal options too, but the key thing is that there isn’t a minimum order that has to be fulfilled, despite being relatively affordably priced between US$10.49 – US$11.49.
The move comes shortly after the fast casual chain pledged to put carbon labels on all of its menu items to indicate their footprint, making it the first U.S. restaurant chain to do so. At the time, it said the campaign was part of its company-wide efforts to champion sustainability and encourage its customers to begin thinking about the impact of their dietary habits.
Housemade is subscription-free and delivery happens same-day by car or bike — not truck.Sandra Noonan, Chief Sustainability Officer, Just Salad
In a blog post detailing the entire development process that Just Salad undertook to create its new brand that would “make meal kits an unambiguous environmental win”, the chain’s chief sustainability officer Sandra Noonan said that the only way was to “rethink the meal kit concept” entirely.
“Typical meal kits require a subscription, and they’re trucked to regional distribution centres during their journey to the customer. That requires more energy, more temperature control and more packaging. In contrast, Housemade is subscription-free and delivery happens same-day by car or bike — not truck,” wrote Noonan.
Instead, Just Salad preps each meal kit with its existing outlets, which will serve as de facto micro-fulfillment centres and is now planning to even add grocery staples to its list of services available across New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Chicago, and South Florida to help “minimise those gas-guzzling grocery store runs”.
Let’s be clear: It’d be best for the planet if we all went vegan, bought our food unpackaged, and wasted not a crumb.Sandra Noonan, Chief Sustainability Officer, Just Salad
So far, the brand features seven one-pan recipes in total, two of them that are 100% vegan-friendly and a meatless Beyond Beef version of the Taco Tuesday Bowl, and Just Salad is encouraging its consumers to opt for these meatless kits as the single most impactful thing they could do for the planet.
“Let’s be clear: It’d be best for the planet if we all went vegan, bought our food unpackaged, and wasted not a crumb,” said Noonan. “For anyone who finds this unrealistic, meal kits might reduce one’s dietary carbon footprint, if they follow these guidelines: Limit grocery trips to once a week or less; choose vegan or vegetarian meals; and dispose of packaging properly. These are the behaviors we’re making easier with Housemade.”
All images courtesy of Housemade.