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Waste Reduction - Packaging Recycle and Re-use Program

by Bartley Creasman |

If you've ever ordered 80Fresh or one of the many meal kits out there, one of the realities is that it takes A LOT of packaging material to ensure that meals arrive safely and maintain the appropriate temperature throughout their journey (as you can see below). An unfortunate side effect is the amount of waste produced by this process. We don't want to add to this problem any more than we have to. 

That's why we're instituting a packaging re-use program. The liners, ice packs, and instruction cards are all safe to re-use more than once. If you are a subscriber to our service, or if you order regularly, we are offering you the chance to significantly reduce the amount of waste from the whole meal kit delivery process by sending us back the packaging materials. We make this process as easy as possible by emailing you a shipping label that you can stick to one of our boxes we send you. You can then schedule a pickup from your own home or drop it off at any FedEx, and you're done! 

If you have any questions about this program or would like to send us some of your waste products from our deliveries, please email contact@80fresh.com for more information.

The Boring Answer To Our Health Problems

by Bartley Creasman |

There hasn't been a ton of scientific research regarding meal planning, but this very recent 5 year study by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that planning your meals is correlated with diet quality and weight. I'm sure this conclusion doesn't surprise many of you. So if we know how to get healthier, why are we still struggling so much with weight in a way that seriously jeopardizes our health, lifespan, and quality of life? The study also shows that "time scarcity and cooking skills were identified as common barriers to prepar[ing] home meals." I'm sure this conclusion doesn't surprise many of you either.

So, most of us know that eating out less will lead to better health, but a perceived lack of time and cooking skills (and probably the allure of easy pizza or burgers or burritos) are contributing to the obesity epidemic that is considered "one of the three most urgent health concerns" in our country, is very strongly linked to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and costs $190 billion per year in weight-related medical bills. 

Meal planning is not really the most inspiring topic to discuss in the health community. Compared to intense workouts (OMG, legs are burning from doing 1,000 body weight squats!!!), pictures of impossible yoga poses and swinging big ropes, and motivational quotes about doing one more rep, pushing a cart through a crowded grocery store while struggling to figure out what could go with avocados is definitely way less cool. Not to say that working out isn't great for you, but we know diet is the more important factor (80% perhaps?), and good, old-fashioned consistency, planning, and cooking are the boring, effective answers to improving health and quality of life.

But what if you really don't have time to plan, shop, and cook, or don't know how to cook meals that are tasty and healthy? This is where the problem makes the most sense, because takeout is definitely way more convenient and immediately satisfying. Aside from a solution like 80Fresh that requires little time, effort, and skills (shameless plug... well, it is our blog, so not unexpected), what can be done to help these people from avoiding the downward spiral of health problems caused by obesity? The hard answer here is motivation and prioritizing. We must realize how important our health is (very), that our quality of life is worth maximizing, prioritize that against other regular activities (can you cut out 15 minutes of TV to plan a few meals?), and start trying to make small changes (cook the easiest recipe you can find that looks good) that are the first steps in gaining control over our health. Then we must build on these habits consistently. 

If you fall into the category of "don't have time/desire/skills to cook," we totally get it. We started there too - that's why we created 80Fresh. But if you need another solution, try to make some time to plan and prep just one meal. You'll realize it's not that hard, and if you do it enough, you can start to take control of your greatest asset.

Single People, You Deserve A Meal Kit

by Bartley Creasman |

If you're reading this, you likely know that meal kit delivery has exploded over the past three years. Blue Apron, the flag-bearer for this industry subset, is currently selling 8 million meals per month and exploring an IPO, while countless others (about 150 or so nationwide) jockey for position in this currently $2 billion per year market. Some analysts even project that this market will expand dramatically to $36 billion per year by 2024!

With all these big numbers flying around, the number we want to focus on is one. Most of these meal kits are designed for couples or families, with their core mission being to provide a unique cooking experience without planning/shopping for their customers. Such an experience is not ideal for single people (who don't like to cook), however, who have to fully prepare each meal for two (without any help), which typically takes at least 30 minutes (in our experience usually 45+ minutes), and deal with leftovers.  

We conceived 80Fresh as an "anti" meal kit - we wanted to create a more utilitarian service (get through a long weekday with something quick, healthy, and fresh) that is ready to go in less than 10 minutes of active time but still home-cooked (not re-heated or frozen), instead of the at-home cooking experience better suited for couples. To focus on health and transparency, we decided to package everything in individual servings so we could control portions and keep accurate calorie and nutrition counts for our customers. With these unique features of our service, as well as our completely flexible subscription packages (anywhere from 2 to 12 total meals per week per household available), we found that 80Fresh became a particularly good fit with our customers ordering for one person. Single people are more likely to eat ready-made meals and less fruits and vegetables, which negatively affects nutrition intake and overall health, so 80Fresh provides a "less cooking" alternative for singles who are underserved (but not forgotten!) by most meal kit services.

Is 80Fresh only for single people? Not at all. The "less cooking" and nutritional transparency aspects of our service have been welcomed by many couples and families who like to save time or have differing individual tastes and dietary preferences. But for all you single people out there, you have some help for dinner too!

Holiday Schedule 2016/17

by Bartley Creasman |

With Christmas and New Year's falling on Sundays this year, those holidays are officially being observed on Monday December 26 and Monday January 2, respectively, for 2016 and 2017. Due to the observance of these holidays on Mondays, we are unable to ship out our packages as normal for those weeks, so all deliveries will arrive one day later than normal for the week of December 26 and January 2. 

Also, due to the planned lower delivery volume for the week between Christmas and New Year's, we are only offering a limited menu for the week of December 26. If you wish to place an order for the week of January 2, please email us at contact@80fresh.com for the menu for that week. 

Thanks again, and enjoy the upcoming holidays! 

Meal Tracking - Worth The Effort?

by Bartley Creasman |

I'll be honest, "meal tracking" feels like it sucks the very soul out of eating, which is probably the last thing you need when you're trying to improve your diet. Images of a calculator hovering over plates of fruit and vegetables (usually with a tape measure lying around for some reason) have turned us off to the idea of keeping track of what we're putting in our bodies (ignorance is bliss when it comes to admitting that ice cream...). But does it actually work? Does writing down that you had ice cream (or pizza, or the good stuff too) lead to better results?

The research points to a very clear "yes," and you don't even need to count calories (although for some people this can be helpful). One study concluded that those who simply kept a food journal were more likely to keep weight off, while another review of studies concluded that those who keep track of their intake lost nearly twice as much as those who did not (where both groups were dieting and exercising).

My own personal experience with tracking meals was very eye-opening. When I looked back at the week, I realized that the simple awareness of what you're actually putting in your body forces you to think about it and see the bigger picture, not just mindlessly go from one meal to the next. And this awareness can be a key to make the necessary changes to improve (admitting the ice cream helped me adjust for and around it, basically). It was difficult not be judgmental of myself for giving an honest account of what I was actually eating - for some this can be the hardest part. Meal tracking is NOT about inducing shame or negative self-judgment, or trying to have the perfect diet (remember the 80/20 rule). Instead, it allows you to take a clear picture so you can make the changes that fit best with your lifestyle and goals.

We're not ones to shun scientific research, so we've created a simple meal tracker (image below, link to downloadable and interactive version here) to help bring awareness to those who want to use this tool. It's very un-complicated, as there's no calorie counting involved, just simple spaces to track your meals. If you've hit a plateau or are struggling to reach your goals, try it for a week and see for yourself if those scientists were right.

We used this Lifehacker article as a resource for our blog post.