Green Visions: The Impact of the Food Delivery Revolution
[This episode of Green Visions originally aired on 8/31/2022, and was rebroadcast February 22, 2023.]
Marc Bellemare, professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota and co-author of the article Research and Policy for the Food-Delivery Revolution, remembers a far more limited delivery menu while growing up in the suburbs of Montreal in the early 90s. "You could only get no-frills food delivered and it was usually done by the restaurant itself." These days, third party companies have made things much easier for anyone -desiring anything - to stay in for the night.
Cell phones, as well as lockdowns throughout the pandemic, have been impactful on the severe rise in food delivery demand. But with convenience comes a price. In the US, gas powered vehicles are still the primary method of transportation for food delivery and an ever expanding menu of food options has seen a rise in container waste.
Initiatives are being taken to curb the environmental impact of food delivery by way of reusable container programs and food donation requirements, though the lion's share of these efforts are stemming from Europe. For now. "We're going to see more and more of that in the US," says Bellemare, "because environmentally conscious consumers are going to start demanding that from the supermarkets and the food retailers."