Daily Harvest

overall Rating:

2.5

planets

Stella Shi
7/31/2021
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For a short period of time, the popularity of a vegan diet has caught my attention. Followed by the recommendation of a friend, I subscribed to Daily Harvest, a vegan meal prep delivery service that sends you packaged frozen food that’s ready to be served with simple steps. Daily Harvest offers a variety of products from chia bowls to entrees to smoothies and claims that they are made with 95% organic ingredients with no artificial ingredients. The aspiration when Rachel Drori founded the company was to introduce more fruits and vegetables into people’s diets, especially for those who do not have time to prep for food. Daily Harvest puts an emphasis on organic ingredients, delicious recipes, and impact on the environment through new package design; however, carbon emission and waste management resulted from its core as an e-commerce meal delivery company concerns me over its actual cost on the environment.

what it's made of:

2.5

With Drori’s network of over 400 farming suppliers, Daily Harvest takes pride in its offering of various vegan products with mainly organic ingredients. On each packaging, it indicates which ingredients are organic for more transparency. When scrolling through the website, Daily Harvest lists out the sources and suppliers of some of its most widely used ingredients such as figs, Brussel sprouts, coffee, and etc.. Not only does the company partner with trusted farmers, but it also encourages to innovate for new breeds of better tasting ingredients with agricultural advances. However, though it makes an effort to establish trust with its consumers, the company could provide more transparency on its sourcing and outline some of its selection standards. When reading the statements provided on the website, it feels vague with empty claims and promises without any connections back to the suppliers. Consumers want to feel genuine actions behind those empty commitments. Nevertheless, one aspect that Daily Harvest distinguishes itself from other competitors is its model of delivering frozen food. All ingredients are frozen on the farm within 24 hours of harvest to secure their nutritional value and flavor till the moment they reach consumers’ table. According to Daily Harvest, frozen on the day can retain more nutrition such as antioxidants and vitamin c than fresh produce. In addition to its focus on ingredients, last year, Daily Harvest announced to roll out 100% home compostable and recyclable packaging regardless of the extra expense that it would occur and eat away the margin. The new packaging can break down naturally and replace styrofoam that’s usually used in frozen shipping to a completely curbside recyclable insulated linear. Daily Harvest even published a web page of recycling guide, offering a breakdown of all materials used in its packaging and different ways to dispose them.

how it's made:

2.3

While Daily Harvest demonstrates efforts in running a sustainable business by practicing organic and regenerative farming, freezing produce for nutritional value, and adopting compostable packaging, it faces the shipping dilemma that all e-commerce struggle with. At each farm, farmers pick the crops and gas them in warehouses to reach the ripen state. Within 24 hours of picking them, farmers use on-site freezing technology to lock in all the nutrition and flavors in the produce and package them into boxes of different products, waiting to be delivered in their frozen state to the customers. By freezing the ingredients, Daily Harvest is able to reduce food waste by 47%, significantly reducing carbon footprint. The company also carefully selects their suppliers who hire a fair and equitable workforce with organic and regenerative farming techniques to further reduce the damage done and give back to the soil. Specifically, Daily Harvest uses 5% of its revenue to help farmers to transit from conventional to organic and the adoption of regenerative farming, committed to protect and cultivate a healthy and fertile soil for the future of the land. Nevertheless, though Daily Harvest is taking these active initiatives in sustainability, one question that keeps coming back is how Daily Harvest can reduce its carbon footprint while keep delivering products to thousands of subscribers across the country. As a past customer, I always felt a sense of guilt when unboxing the neatly packed food packagings only to throw them right away. That mount of waste has been a sore for me, and it would always appear at my house every week. I believe that in order for Daily Harvest to have a significant impact on the environment and truly reach sustainability, it needs to find another delivery model. For example, Daily Harvest can deliver less frequently or let customers pick their delivery dates. It can also try to pack several products together to reduce the amount of packaging needed. Recently, the company claims to be in the process of eliminating all single-use plastic and non-recyclable materials in its supply chain. However, it has not commented yet on whether their new containers will contain PFAS, chemicals that do not ever biodegrade.

who makes it:

2.8

When Rachel Drori founded the company, her goal was to deliver healthy simple meals for people who do not have the time to cook. With that in mind, Daily Harvest has upheld its promise of healthy ingredients with its network of trusted suppliers. To ensure the quality of its food and aid its partnering farmers, Daily Harvest promotes organic and regenerative farming technique to protect local water system and soil condition, It helps farmers in need to complete the expensive and draining transition process to a organic farm, which could be costly for individual farmers along. With this sense of community from its suppliers to customers, Daily Harvest is constantly reaching out for customer feedbacks and innovating new recipes to better cater to needs. The innovation cycle is usually 8 to 12 weeks, and with the introduction of Mylk, the company is aware of creative solutions for the delivery and variety of healthy and delicious food.