The labelling program is launching in Germany and Austria following a successful six-week trial.
The Berlin-based business operates in the UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, France and Denmark. Its weekly meal kits come with pre-packaged fresh ingredients and cooking instructions and take typically 30 minutes to prepare.
The Climate Hero (‘Klimaheld’) tag will appear next to recipes which fall under the top five lowest carbon intensive recipes of the week. Every recipe with this tag generates at least 50% less CO2e emissions than the average HelloFresh recipe.
HelloFresh said the initiative has been introduced in direct response to consumers wanting to live more sustainably and coincides with the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.
The company said it is measuring the climate impact of recipes using globally respected databases including the Agribalyse database, which has been made available by the French agency of ecological transition (ADEME) and the France's National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE).
The calculated ingredient emissions (CO2e or CO2-equivalents) are based on the individual weights in grams of all ingredients.
“The results from the Agribalyse database show the climate impact per kilogram of food that is produced,” a spokesperson explained. “We then apply to the weight of every ingredient we use in our recipes.”
In addition, it will calculate the transport emissions of ingredients based on the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) framework. “In this case we are again utilizing the weight of all ingredients and its origin to determine the emitted CO2-equivalents by using suggested conversion factors based on the transportation modes (road, ship or air transport),” the spokesperson told us.
There will not be separate figures for water, emissions, pesticide and impact on biodiversity. “Since climate change from greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most pressing global challenges at the moment, we are at this moment concentrating on evaluating the potential climate impact in terms of CO2-equivalents,” the spokesperson explained. “Nevertheless, we recognize that ecosystems are complex, and the effect of the food industry on for instance water or biodiversity is significant. Therefore, we are eager to understand more factors in the future to have a more holistic picture of environmental impact. We are currently working with an external partner and a scientific supervisory panel through an extensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to identify the hotspots of the HelloFresh service and product and also include additional factors beyond CO2e.”
The Climate Hero tag was first shown to a limited number of customers as part of a trial phase in August. Initial results show that recipes with the Climate Hero tag saw a notable increase in customer selection and a reduction in cancellation rates. HelloFresh now intends to roll out the initiative to all customers in Germany and Austria before progressing into other regions should it prove popular.
Tilman Eichstaedt, HelloFresh’s Senior Vice President of Supply, Product & Sustainability said: “I’m excited to have seen such a positive reception to the Climate Hero initiative. As a business, it’s important that we play our part in providing information which allows our customers to make more sustainable decisions.
“We have been working incredibly hard at HelloFresh to consistently innovate and find solutions to help us address the climate crisis. From packaging and supply chain to food waste and agriculture, all of our teams are completely focussed on finding ways to limit our impact on the planet. There are several programs being trialled across the world and I’m excited to share more stories of success over the coming months.”
Globally, the move follows HelloFresh’s commitment to halving food waste and reducing the carbon emissions of production facilities by 60% by 2022.