There are a lot of meal delivery companies out there, and while most of them offer great food for a decent price, not all meal delivery services are created equal with regard to sustainability practices. In this Sunbasket review, we’ll introduce you to a company that truly makes it easy to cook delicious meals responsibly. Not only does the company offer a host of clean and organic meal kit options, but it also set a high bar when it comes to minimizing environmental footprint.
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the sustainable home cooking options that are available through Sunbasket.
How We Review Meal Delivery Services
When evaluating each meal delivery service, we based our review on their food options, ingredient sourcing, packaging and customer reviews to ensure that they are both good for you and for the environment.
- Dietary options – We considered both the quality and variety of the recipes and whether they offered vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options.
- Ingredients – We looked to see how they sourced their ingredients, whether they were organic, non-GMO and locally grown. We looked for important eco-friendly labels from authorities like the USDA, Non-GMO Project and the Marine Stewardship Council.
- Packaging – A very important component was also the packaging for each meal. We wanted to know how much was recyclable or biodegradable and whether the brand used recycled materials in their packaging.
- Customer reviews – Finally, we looked at Sunbasket reviews to see what users liked or didn’t like about each service.
Sunbasket Meal Delivery Overview
It’s impossible to talk about Sunbasket without mentioning Justine Kelly, aka Chef Justine. As Sunbasket’s executive chef, she’s the one who develops each recipe and ensures wholesome, delicious flavors in every box that’s delivered.
Chef Justine has an amazing track record that includes a role at Slanted Door, an award-winning restaurant in the San Francisco area. From her time in the restaurant world to her current role at Sunbasket, Chef Justine has developed a strong reputation for championing the very best, most sustainably sourced produce, seafood and meats.
She has brought her commitment to healthy, environmentally responsible and farmer-friendly cuisine to Sunbasket, a meal delivery service that’s defined by its very admirable corporate values:
- First and foremost, the company is devoted to meals that taste good, relying on clean and high-quality ingredients. Sunbasket reviews indicate the company is going this well, with many customers impressed by the caliber of meals.
- Sunbasket is a certified organic handler and is committed to providing patrons with ingredients that are well-sourced and 100% organic, all the time.
- The company offers meal plans that accommodate a range of lifestyles and dietary choices, including paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free and more.
- Sunbasket champions sustainability, from its compostable packaging to its partnerships with eco-friendly farms and fishermen.
These are just some of the reasons why Sunbasket stands out from other meal delivery services. Now, let’s take a closer look at how some of these values play out day-to-day.
Sunbasket’s Sustainability Practices
There are a number of ways in which Sunbasket proves its commitment to sustainability, starting with its partnerships with farmers, fishermen and ranchers:
- Chef Justine has always been known for ensuring thoughtful partnerships with local agriculturalists, and she’s brought that ethos to Sunbasket. The company is steadfast and judicious in sourcing farms, partners who pioneer sustainable practices such as crop rotation and water efficiency.
- Similarly, the Sunbasket team shows great care in the fishermen they choose to work with, only selecting seafood providers recommended by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program and fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. This ensures all of their suppliers use low-impact fishing methods that preserve natural populations and ecosystems.
- Sunbasket also sources its meat from ranches that treat animals with respect. They provide only antibiotic- and hormone-free meat, organic eggs and organic meat and poultry options like grass-fed beef.
These are just a few examples of how Sunbasket ensures that its wholesome and delicious meals also promote good stewardship of the environment.
Additionally, make note of the ways in which Sunbasket demonstrates responsible corporate citizenship.
Specifically, Sunbasket does a lot to give back and to reinvest in local communities. It does so through a partnership with Feeding America, as well as key relationships with local food banks. They also have various employee programs that allow them to be a force of good in the world.
This, combined with their support for independent and sustainable farms, shows that Sunbasket is serious about modeling good corporate citizenship. Simply put, this is a company you’ll likely be able to support without qualms of conscience.
What About Packaging and Recycling?
One specific concern about sustainability is packaging. After all, Sunbasket meals are delivered to your door in a box, which can’t help but produce a lot of physical waste. What steps do they take to ensure eco-friendly packaging?
- All Sunbasket packaging is recyclable and/or compostable.
- Sunbasket also lists a lot of ways in which the items in their boxes can be reused around your home.
- Reclaimed denim is used as insulation.
- Ice packs may also be reused in various ways, or the non-toxic gel can be thrown out and the plastic packs recycled at store drop off locations.
Meal Options and Pricing
There are four types of Sunbasket meals to choose from, depending on the amount of time and effort you have to spare on making your meals:
- Classic Meal Kits: Sunbasket provides the ingredients, but you’ll do all the work. Chop, slice and dice as needed, then cook everything up and serve. Most recipes are ready in 30 minutes or less.
- Fresh & Ready Meals: These meals come ready-made in heat-safe baskets. All you need to do is pop them in the microwave or oven, and they’re ready to eat in as little as six minutes.
- Pre-Prepped Meal Kits: With this option, all ingredients come pre-chopped, mixed and measured. You simply cook and assemble the meal, which can be done in 15 to 20 minutes.
- Chef’s Table Meal Kits: These Sunbasket meals feature premium ingredients and more unique flavor combinations. These kits are perfect for celebrating special occasions like birthdays or date nights.
A final topic for consideration is pricing.
- Sunbasket meals cost anywhere from $11 to $13 per serving; the price goes down depending on how many meals you opt to get each week.
- You may also choose to get either two or four servings for each recipe.
- An order may be as low as $52 per week, or as high as $175; again, the price is determined by serving number and meal number.
Pros and Cons
One thing we love about Sunbasket’s meal delivery service is that it gives you the option to choose between meal kits and Fresh & Ready pre-made meals. Many Sunbasket reviews mention how easy it is to adjust your Sunbasket menu for the week if you have a lot going on and don’t have time for as much prep and clean up.
We also love that Sunbasket menus can be customized. The company offers many different meal plans for different lifestyles and dietary needs, including options for gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, vegetarian, pescatarian and diabetes-friendly meals, just to name a few. Many Sunbasket reviews mention that the food is tasty and easy to prep. However, the company does not offer a vegan option at this time.
The only thing we found that we didn’t love about Sunbasket meals is that not all meat is guaranteed organic. The company says that it offers “organic options,” meaning that you can sometimes select things like grass-fed beef, but that it may not always be available. While Sunbasket touts the fact that it works with ranchers and farmers who raise meat “responsibly and sustainably,” it does not list any certifications on its site to back this up. The company’s seafood, however, is certified by multiple sources, so you can always feel good about those Sunbasket meals.
Final Thoughts on Sunbasket: Delicious, Sustainable Meals Delivered to Your Door
Sunbasket isn’t the only meal delivery service out there, but it may be the most impressive with regard to its commitment to eco-friendliness, sustainable agriculture, local farms and astute corporate citizenship. That Sunbasket meals are also filling, delicious, creative and reasonably priced only makes the company more appealing. There are many Sunbasket reviews from customers praising the company’s delicious meals, great customer service and push toward sustainability.
If you’re looking for a way to cook at home more regularly, and with less impact on the environment, Sunbasket is a meal delivery service that deserves your attention.
Are Meal Kit Delivery Services Really Sustainable?
Over the past several years, home cooking has made a big resurgence with a contemporary twist. Thanks to the rise of meal delivery services, anyone who wants to make their own meals at home can do so, with relative ease. Most of these services work in roughly the same way: They allow you to denote some basic dietary preferences, as well as the frequency with which you’d like to receive your meals. Each meal is then shipped in a box, with all the ingredients you need as well as clear, accessible instructions. You can then make your own delicious meals without the hassle of recipe sourcing, going to the market, or ensuring the right quantity of ingredients.
But, do you have to sacrifice sustainability for convenience? Well, it depends on how you define sustainability. While meal kit boxes produce more packaging waste, they have lower greenhouse gas emissions and result in less food waste compared to grocery store meals.
According to studies out of the University of Texas at Austin and in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling, meal kits produce 33% lower greenhouse gas emissions, lead to less food loss and waste because of their pre-portioned ingredients, have lower last-mile transportation emissions and produce fewer emissions from refrigeration than grocery store meals.
The studies also mentioned that meal kits produce more packaging waste than grocery store meals — UT Austin estimated an average of 3.7 more pounds of packaging material per meal. One study found that “disposable packaging can represent over 50% of per-meal energy use for meal-kits.” Sunbasket gives customers tips on how to reuse every last bit of its packaging, but it’s likely most will still end up in a landfill.
So, it’s up to you whether you think the pros of lower carbon emissions outweigh the cons of more plastic waste.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. His writing on natural health, nutrition, and supplements has appeared in Health, Shape and Remedy Review.