Are Meal Kits Safe and Sustainable?

While meal kit delivery services have grown exponentially over the last few years to $5 billion in sales, more and more consumers are starting to ask whether the food delivered is safe and whether the packaging is sustainable. Vericool, the maker of safe, sustainable and affordable Vericoolers®, today launched the consumer awareness and education campaign #MealKitFail to answer some of those questions. The company is encouraging consumers to share their concerns, questions and any problems they encountered with their meal kit delivery and packaging via social media.

“There’s a lot of confusion about meal kit safety and sustainability—and we’re starting #MealKitFail to help,” said Darrell Jobe, CEO of Vericool, Inc.

According to Packaged Facts, three-quarters of U.S. adults have heard of fresh food meal kit delivery services, and a quarter of them have taken part in at least a free product trial.

“This space is the most striking example of the movement toward greater convenience in getting fresh foods to the consumer,” remarked David Sprinkle, Director of Research at Packaged Facts.

While meal kit delivery addresses the ever-growing demand for convenience, questions have been raised as to whether this convenience comes with safety and sustainability risks.

Meal Kit Safety

In a study conducted by Rutgers University and Tennessee State University, researchers ordered 169 meal kits, with 271 meat items, 235 seafood items, 133 game items, 39 poultry items, and interviewed over 1000 consumers. They found that products are likely to be left outside for eight or more hours before they are opened and refrigerated, and only five percent require a signature upon delivery. Further, research found that 47 percent of the cold food items arrived with surface temperatures above 40 degrees, which falls in the USDA's "danger zone"—when bacteria grows rapidly.

So, what can consumers to do make sure the delivery is safe?

“You just want to be mindful of how long the food has been sitting outside, and if it's above 40 degrees or if there's any thawing or the meat is not fully frozen still, then that's definitely problematic and increases the risk for food-borne illness,” said Bill Hallman, professor and Chair of the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University.

Here are some safety tips and Vericool Packaging will be sharing more via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn:

  • Check the temperatures of the package’s contents and make sure meats, dairy, fish, and other cold foods are below 41 degrees—cool to touch is not safe;
  • Refrigerate the package after receipt; and
  • If you notice any leaking or strange smells, throw it out.

Meal Kit Sustainability

Many meal kits come with lots of packaging, and often only some of it is reusable, recyclable or compostable. So, what should you look for?

“You want to look for sustainable packaging that keeps cold foods cold from packaging to receipt—at temperatures below 41 degrees. Consumers should ask their meal kit companies for safe, cold-chain packaging that is fully curbside recyclable and compostable—Recyclapostable™,” said Darrell Jobe, CEO of Vericool, Inc. “Recyclapostable packaging is sustainable and significantly reduces consumer waste.”

Watch this video to learn more about meal kit safety and sustainability.

About Vericool, Inc.

Based in Livermore, Calif., Vericool delivers sustainable packaging that protects products, people and the planet. Recyclapostable™ Vericoolers® are the only high performing 100% compostable insulation and recyclable cold chain packaging in the market, making them the safest replacement for EPS/Styrofoam. Patented and patent-pending Vericoolers are cost-effective and reliable, ensuring that food, medicines and other temperature sensitive products stay cool from packaging to receipt. Customizable and high-performing, Vericoolers can perform to customer-defined ASTM and ISTA standards.

Vericool is all about delivering second chances for people and companies to do the right thing for the planet. Those that get it—Vericooler it.

To learn more about Vericool Packaging, visit or follow the company on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.