A new meal delivery service has launched to make plant-based food a part of the average Australian diet – and without all the disposable plastic packaging waste.
The brainchild of Faith Forster, who turned to a plant-based diet on the advice of a doctor after suffering from pregnancy-related diabetes which resulted in insulin resistance, Thank Fork is Australia’s first plant-based zero-waste meal delivery service.
After struggling to find a meal delivery service that offered healthy and tasty plant-based meals using fresh, pre-prepared ingredients, Forster, an entrepreneur with extensive experience leading VC-backed tech startups, took the plunge and launched Thank Fork in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, with her sister Naomi Kenny.
While launching during a pandemic was never part of the original business plan, it worked in the pair’s favour. “I don’t think anyone had planned for COVID,” Forster admits. “I personally went plant-based around the same time the first COVID lockdown started and found it really difficult.
“I knew that many people were considering eating more plant-based food, either for their health or the environment, and thought there needs to be a way to make this transition easier for people. COVID eliminated many of the options for how we could do this, so lead us towards launching as an eCommerce meal kit business.”
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Reducing meat consumption is seen as one of the most effective actions that people can take to reduce their carbon footprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Research published by French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) found that animal meat-free diets produced 49.6% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and had a 41.5% smaller environmental footprint compared with meat-inclusive diets.
Based in Lane Cove, Sydney, Thank Fork currently delivers to Sydney and the NSW Central Coast and hopes to expand its presence into other regions. Its meals are 90% pre-prepared and the packaging is 100% compostable and recyclable.
The current menu is the result of extensive collaboration between an in-house nutritionist, health and fitness experts and chef Paul McDonald, former Head Chef for fast food outlets such as Guzman Y Gomez and whose CV includes Michelin-starred restaurants. It features several restaurant-quality vegan dishes, including faux sashimi rice bowls, authentic Mexican tacos and Asian-style pancakes.
The combination of mouth-watering plant-based dishes, zero waste packaging and convenience proving a recipe for success for the start-up, counting time-poor professionals and busy parents as its key customers.
“We were overwhelmed with orders when we first launched, and have since put in place better processes and logistics to support further growth,” shares Forster. In addition to a meal kit subscription service, the business has also introduced the option of one-off purchases to offer customers more flexibility.
To curb the amount of waste generated, Thank Fork has also launched a collection service for their compostable packaging and reusable components. A month after the introduction of the reusable components, the business is seeing 80% of the packaging being collected and reused. With the rise in environmental consciousness amongst consumers and Australia generating 75.8 million tonnes of solid waste, businesses in the $300 million meal kit market implementing sustainability and waste reduction initiatives may find favour with customers.
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