The green debate: Could recipe shopping cut out 1.4 billion car journeys every year?

10 jun 2021

Erik Wallin

The Grocer has joined the debate around online versus offline shopping's green credentials. It's a discussion that warrants plenty of attention. But is online versus offline actually the right question?

"Supermarkets and distributors can both play an important role in making grocery shopping greener," comments Northfork's VP of Growth, Mark Rogers. "Using technology and AI can drive up the eco-credentials of both, delivering time, money and environmental savings."

The right technology

The average UK household spends £3,312 per year on groceries. The online/offline debate centres on whether it's greener for shoppers to drive to the supermarket themselves to buy those groceries, or have them delivered.

Delivery meal kit company Gousto, for example, asserts that if every UK home used it for a year, instead of buying dinners at the supermarket, the change could save 10.3 million tonnes of CO2e. However, families would still need to use supermarkets for breakfasts, lunches, household items and other essentials. Dealing with one meal per day doesn't cut out the need to shop.

What we can do instead is use AI and technology to support families to shop in a more sustainable and efficient way. Shopping by recipe highlights this, as Northfork's Mark Rogers explains:

"Recipe shopping customers can fill their basket with everything they need in a single click. They can shop by menu as well, filling their basket with the ingredients for multiple recipes at once. This means no more forgotten items; it cuts out all those quick trips to the shop for one or two missing ingredients."

Environmental benefits

Recipe shopping customers can buy everything else they need for the week in the same transaction. Whether they click and collect or have the supermarket deliver, the recipe shopping technology has cut out all of those quick car journeys for forgotten items.

There are 27.8 million households in the UK. If recipe shopping could prevent every household from making a single car journey to the shop each week to buy a missing ingredient, it would result in 1.4 billion fewer car journeys per year.

Now that's something to think about.