What are meal deals costing the planet?

10.7 billion items of packaging waste

Our ‘grab and go’ lunch habits generate 10.7 billion items of packaging waste every year according to research by environmental charity Hubbub. That’s 276 items per person. The average lunch purchase results in upwards of 6 items of packaging. From sandwich and salad containers to crisp packets, dessert pots, drinks bottles, cans, napkins, disposable cutlery, takeaway coffee cups, it’s easy to see how these items add up. And the rise in our food-on-the-go habits isn’t limited solely to lunch – many of us grab something on the way into work snack during the day, pick up a protein bar or shake on the way out of the gym, or purchase something on our way home to tide us over to dinner.

Better for you ≠ better for the planet

Although there have been plenty of public discussions about what the rise of ‘grab and go’ lunch culture for our health, rarely have these conversations considered the impact on planetary health.

Meal deals have been criticised for containing excessively high levels of fat, sugar, salt, and companies have responded by coming out with new healthier options. If in the past, wanting to eat healthily meant preparing your own lunch, and by default resulted in using less takeaway packaging, this is no longer necessarily the case. (Although many of these so-called ‘healthy options’ contain less calories, fat, sugar and salt but are no more nutritious as they continue to lack enough of the good stuff too!)

However, even when these options are better for us, they’re not doing the environment any good. Salad boxes with separate plastic pots of dressing, protein pots, mini pots of hummus, takeaway fruit salads, bottled juices, single servings of nuts and seeds and individually wrapped ‘healthy treats’ all contribute vast amounts of packaging waste. So what’s the solution?

Al desko dining is here to stay, but there is a better way…

It seems that our al desko dining habits are here to stay. The fast pace and demands of professional life can make it difficult to find the time to prepare food to bring in from home. Plus there is a lot to be said for the communal aspect of getting lunch with our colleagues, as well as the novelty and excitement provided by an ever-changing lunch options that differ from the what you might make yourself!

“A well-fed workforce is a happy, high functioning workforce”

At Social Pantry, we believe that a well-fed workforce is a happy, high functioning workforce. We provide bespoke, in-house corporate catering and office deliveries of fresh, seasonal, and delicious food that leaves people feeling satisfied, energised and cared for.

Food is fuel, but it is also so much more. How a company feeds its staff is an important aspect of how a company treats its staff. It also says a lot about a company’s values, ethics and commitment to being progressive on issues such as sustainability and employee wellbeing.

A taste of zero-waste

Social Pantry has a reputation for delivering forward-thinking, creative menus using locally, sustainably sourced produce and a zero-waste ‘root to stem’ approach to cooking in which every part of the ingredient is put to good use. However, our zero-waste approach doesn’t stop there.

We offer an alternative to the waste crisis resulting from all the excess packaging involved in takeaway grab and go lunch options. Social Pantry is on a mission to be the first fully sustainable catering company, so our team is committed to reducing all forms of waste at every stage of the process. From how our vegetables are delivered to our prep kitchen (in reusable crates, not boxes, and always loose rather than individually wrapped), right through to how we store and serve food on-site.

“The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach”

Most people know that food packaging and waste is a serious problem, but we recognise that rational knowledge isn’t always enough to get people to change their habits. So instead, we take a different approach. Of course, our catering options make objective sense. People wanting to follow their head and make decisions about corporate catering grounded in facts only have to take a look at how we operate to see that we are at the forefront of seasonal, sustainable, ethical and stylish catering options. Our menus are fully bespoke, we cater to a variety of budgets, and our modern, flexible service allows us to adapt to any workplace.  However, for those people more likely to follow their heart, we know the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach! Tempted? We thought you might be! Just wait until you’ve tried our food!

Tempted? Go on…

If you’re interested in finding out about our corporate catering options, please get in touch! Our dedicated corporate catering team would be delighted to discuss your workplace’s needs and come up with a bespoke package too tempting to resist!