Evaluating the carbon emissions of alternative food provision systems: A comparative analysis of recipe box and supermarket equivalents

Xiaojun Wang*, Shukai Zhang, Niels Schneider

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


Given the rapid growth of the online recipe box market, this research evaluates the relative environmental performances of an online recipe box delivery model and supermarket grocery retail shopping. The evaluation was conducted via a thorough comparison of the associated carbon emissions of meals provided by an online recipe delivery service to the equivalent meals from a supermarket, accounting for differences in respective supply chains and their food loss and waste. The comparative results show that, on average, the carbon emissions of the five meals studied within the recipe box model are 10.8% less than those of the equivalent meals bought from a supermarket retail store. Overall, online recipe box delivery services can improve resource efficiency compared to supermarket grocery shopping, especially at the retail operation and household consumption stages. Our findings can inform environmentally conscious consumers and provide guidance to food organisations, including recipe box firms and supermarkets, in achieving their sustainability goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121099
Number of pages12
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date18 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to express our gratitude to the guest editors and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback and many valuable suggestions. This research is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account under Grant No. ES/M500410/1 and Gousto. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ESRC and Gousto. The authors thank Hugh Lewis and Oliver Revill from Gousto for their inputs and review of main assumptions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • food supply chain
  • life cycle assessment
  • carbon emissions
  • recipe boxes
  • alternative food provision


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