To understand our emissions accurately, we've started calculating the carbon footprint of our dishes: from growing and delivering raw ingredients, through production processes, packaging and shipping, to the electricity consumed by the end consumer for heating, storing and rinsing plates and pans. This provides a holistic picture and helps us to strategically target improvements where they have the greatest impact on the environment.
The first products have already been calculated and have an average of 1.1 kg CO₂e* per meal, where about a quarter (0.27kg) is attributable to the ingredients. If a dish had a standard serving of 150g of beef, this would increase the footprint per meal to over 4kg CO₂e - a mainly plant-based diet is not only beneficial for health but for our planet.
However, calculating our product CO₂ footprint is just the beginning. We have set ourselves the goal to continuously reduce our emissions.
Logistics is a good example. Currently, about a quarter of the footprint is accounted for by the dry ice (CO₂ in solid form) needed for frozen food shipping. We are working on innovative logistics models to get by without dry ice at all. Many districts in Berlin already have the option of same-day express delivery through our new local warehouse. This means that shipments can be made entirely without dry ice or insulating material.
We are also working on improving our production: Starting from mid-2022 we will test a new production method which would reduce the CO₂ footprint per dish by another 10-20%. Currently, we freeze our sauce into small cubes so that they thaw evenly with the other ingredients during preparation. However, producing our sauce cubes is a separate production step that is quite energy-consuming. The new method would be a "mini sauce cube" that can be added directly to the other ingredients and frozen later - and would consume way less energy.
At the end of the year, we offset the emissions that we cannot avoid (yet) with our partner Atmosfair. We are currently supporting the expansion of climate-friendly wood stoves in Rwanda. By using the efficient, locally manufactured stoves, the amount of wood needed for cooking can be reduced by up to 80%. The project not only reduces CO2 emissions, but also the increasing demand for wood and thus the deforestation of the dwindling forest stock. In addition, local jobs are created, energy costs are saved and much less smoke is produced, thus protecting the health of the families during cooking.
Sustainability is not an end goal that can be achieved just like that, but a continuous process. By taking a holistic view of the value chain, we are now going one step further. We would like to see many more food producers join us. Together, we can take on even more responsibility.
*CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e) is a unit of measurement that is used to standardise the climate effects of various greenhouse gases.In addition to the most important man-made greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO₂), there are other greenhouse gases such as methane or nitrous oxide. The various gases do not contribute to the greenhouse effect to the same extent and remain in the atmosphere for different periods of time.