Modern advances in technology continue to impact our daily lives. From social interaction to electronic diaries, almost every aspect of routine habit has been changed by the digital world. Grocery shopping is no different, with worldwide online giants such as Amazon jumping on the organic food delivery bandwagon via Wholefoods. Ordering your weekly food shop online is nothing new for UK supermarkets, who deliver to your door at pretty much any time of day. Question is, how environmentally beneficial is getting your groceries delivered in the UK?
Research suggests the distance travelled by delivery vehicles is shorter than the sum of customers individually flocking to their local supermarket. Despite such delivery vans producing a higher amount of CO2 emissions, careful planning of delivery routes and grouping customers by geographical area can result in fewer miles travelled. Even so, random delivery routes can still be better than personal travel.
Amazon themselves released a statement last month declaring that ordering online reduces carbon emissions by 43% compared with driving. In addition, a new study found that online grocery shopping reduces food waste, as consumers tend to buy smaller amounts. Food waste is a major contributor to CO2 emissions, hence fewer waste products helping to combat this huge climate issue. What’s more, shopping online prevents lugging around heavy trolleys and carrying bags from car to house, as well as avoiding multiple trips to the supermarket after forgetting something from your list (we’ve all been there!). Food deliveries can not only help to tackle the ever-worsening climate, but can save you money on petrol and chiropractic care – doesn’t seem to be a down-side, does there?
Like every story, there are two sides. Most environmentally friendly practices are only efficient if done correctly. The benefits of grocery delivery depend on the overall lifestyle of the consumer. For example, ordering a large online weekly food shop whilst also ‘nipping’ to your local supermarket for everyday essentials (often referred to as ‘fast-moving’ consumer goods) can have adverse effects on the environment.
It is also important to know where your food shop is coming from, reducing what is known as ‘food miles’. This is where shopping from retailers who support their local economy comes in. Food miles can begin to rack up with the transferring of livestock and shipping of raw produce from producer to distributor to retailer. Ordering from a family farm, like us at Eversfield Organic, with organic food produce sourced from the local area where possible, cuts out the supermarket middleman and reduces large amounts of energy used. With this, the emissions released from our nationwide delivery are offset by the reduction in food miles elsewhere.
It’s also suggested that what we eat is more important than how we get it. Food production is responsible for 65% of a meal’s carbon footprint, which is why buying organic produce sourced from its local environment is so important. At Eversfield Organic, we work to reduce the negative perceptions of cows by ensuring our Aberdeen Angus cattle have a 100% grass-fed diet. This reduces their carbon footprint, as well as stimulating plant growth and regenerating the soil, boosting the amount of CO2 taken out of the atmosphere and into the earth (known as carbon sequestration).
Along with how food is produced, and consumers’ making the right purchasing choices, it’s also important that retailers do everything they can to help too. As well as the above, Eversfield Organic ensure local deliveries are grouped by postcode to reduce travel miles, as well as working to grow the popularity of online grocery shopping. More customer conversions from individual shopping trips to grocery deliveries means our vans can be filled to brim with produce, reducing CO2 emissions.
With home grocery delivery services seemingly effective in both rural and populated parts of the country, plus fewer personal car trips resulting in less road congestion and a better quality of life for all, it seems there are no drawbacks. However, mixed opinions and an abundance of variables means making the right choice vital. Picking UK organic food online, such as the food box delivery from Eversfield Organic including your choice of organic vegetables and grass fed meat from our family farm, can help turn all your groceries green – and let’s be honest, we could all do with eating more green.