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Evaluation of the In-House Production of Insulation Material for Meal Kits - A Case Study at HelloFresh

Bauer, Anne LU (2020) MTTM01 20201
Packaging Logistics
Abstract
Meal-kit boxes are considered a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the food waste in the supply chain and households. Nevertheless, the consumers are concerned about the amount of packaging that comes with such a box, which is connected to higher carbon emissions than a grocery store meal. Thus, HelloFresh, a global market-leader in meal-kit boxes is driven to find more sustainable packaging solutions. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of a cooling pouch produced in-house on the production process of a meal-kit producer and its environmental and economical impact. Two different in-house production methods were evaluated and compared against the pouch production from two different suppliers. The... (More)
Meal-kit boxes are considered a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the food waste in the supply chain and households. Nevertheless, the consumers are concerned about the amount of packaging that comes with such a box, which is connected to higher carbon emissions than a grocery store meal. Thus, HelloFresh, a global market-leader in meal-kit boxes is driven to find more sustainable packaging solutions. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of a cooling pouch produced in-house on the production process of a meal-kit producer and its environmental and economical impact. Two different in-house production methods were evaluated and compared against the pouch production from two different suppliers. The prototyping process and feasibility assessment showed that the first method, resulting in the same pouch type currently used at HelloFresh, shows a high grade of feasibility as it is an already existing concept on the market. Regarding the implementation of the second production alternative, a pouch made of compartments with paper-based insulation filling is complex, the results are inconclusive. The environmental and economical impact of the in-house production of insulation material for the meal-kit industry cannot be generalized and needs to be examined case by case. The greenhouse gas emissions caused by an insulation pouch depend on the origins of the raw material, transport modalities, the place of production and the local- and market-based emission factors. But the emissions might be lowered by the second production alternative that uses wastepaper for the insulation filling in compartments. Both production alternatives would result in a cost reduction. The study gives an indication that the in-house production of insulation pouches might generate lower emissions and create savings. (Less)
Popular Abstract
In-house production of insulation material for the meal-kit industry
There is a global push for reducing food waste. A meal-kit box is one opportunity, but most consumers are concerned about the amount of packaging used in meal-kit boxes. Does in-house production of packaging materials reduce the carbon emissions? Not necessarily, but it might reduce the costs.

Global warming needs to be stopped, which can only be achieved by carbon neutrality. A highly important topic in the meal-kit industry is the carbon footprint of the packaging that is constantly worked on. A potential is seen in the in-house production of the insulation pouches associated with a reduction in emissions and costs and increase in flexibility. The pouches are used... (More)
In-house production of insulation material for the meal-kit industry
There is a global push for reducing food waste. A meal-kit box is one opportunity, but most consumers are concerned about the amount of packaging used in meal-kit boxes. Does in-house production of packaging materials reduce the carbon emissions? Not necessarily, but it might reduce the costs.

Global warming needs to be stopped, which can only be achieved by carbon neutrality. A highly important topic in the meal-kit industry is the carbon footprint of the packaging that is constantly worked on. A potential is seen in the in-house production of the insulation pouches associated with a reduction in emissions and costs and increase in flexibility. The pouches are used to transport chilled ingredients like dairy product with ice packs to keep them cool in the transportation process.

This project showed that there are different in-house production methods for insulation pouches conceivable. Rather simple methods, like the in-house sewing of a pouch, or more innovative and complex like the production of a down jacket-like pouch made of wastepaper. The first option would be rather easy to implement in the production and not much prior knowledge and testing is needed. On the other hand, the second option would require more testing like the assessment of the insulation properties and the development of the machinery. Both production methods show no signs of problems that condemn them to failure. A prototyping process was conducted to gain data for the analyses in this project.

Both methods were further analysed with regard to their impact on the environment and costs of the pouch. It cannot be generalised whether an in-house produced material is more sustainable than a purchased one. It needs to be checked for each individual case. The amount of emissions depends on different factors, e.g. the place of production and transportation routes, but more importantly, which type of emission factors that are considered. When looking at the energy mix of the country, both options would emit up to 75% more greenhouse gases. Considering the energy type purchased by the companies, the second method would emit 79% less. The emission numbers were assessed via a simplified CO2-impact analysis, but not a complete life cycle assessment. The results for the cost assessment are on the other hand clearer. It is most likely that the in-house production of insulation pouches would generate even up to 86% savings.

Overall, the second production method shows the highest potential, but it is also based on many assumptions and there might still be factors not considered that could change the numbers radically. Unfortunately, it was not possible to test the insulation properties. Thus, it is not clear whether this pouch type would isolate in the same way; however, this study can be used as an indicator, if might be worthwhile to consider an in-house production for the individual case and as a guide for further research. Further development should evaluate the insulation performance of the innovative production method and evaluate the production in different countries. (Less)
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author
Bauer, Anne LU
supervisor
organization
course
MTTM01 20201
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
in-house production, food packaging, insulation material, sustainability, paper-based
language
English
id
9028105
date added to LUP
2020-09-03 10:44:57
date last changed
2020-09-03 10:44:57
@misc{9028105,
  abstract     = {Meal-kit boxes are considered a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the food waste in the supply chain and households. Nevertheless, the consumers are concerned about the amount of packaging that comes with such a box, which is connected to higher carbon emissions than a grocery store meal. Thus, HelloFresh, a global market-leader in meal-kit boxes is driven to find more sustainable packaging solutions. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of a cooling pouch produced in-house on the production process of a meal-kit producer and its environmental and economical impact. Two different in-house production methods were evaluated and compared against the pouch production from two different suppliers. The prototyping process and feasibility assessment showed that the first method, resulting in the same pouch type currently used at HelloFresh, shows a high grade of feasibility as it is an already existing concept on the market. Regarding the implementation of the second production alternative, a pouch made of compartments with paper-based insulation filling is complex, the results are inconclusive. The environmental and economical impact of the in-house production of insulation material for the meal-kit industry cannot be generalized and needs to be examined case by case. The greenhouse gas emissions caused by an insulation pouch depend on the origins of the raw material, transport modalities, the place of production and the local- and market-based emission factors. But the emissions might be lowered by the second production alternative that uses wastepaper for the insulation filling in compartments. Both production alternatives would result in a cost reduction. The study gives an indication that the in-house production of insulation pouches might generate lower emissions and create savings.},
  author       = {Bauer, Anne},
  keyword      = {in-house production,food packaging,insulation material,sustainability,paper-based},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Evaluation of the In-House Production of Insulation Material for Meal Kits - A Case Study at HelloFresh},
  year         = {2020},
}