Can grocery delivery be greener than walking to a store yourself?

Food conservation is a national issue in the U.K., with its own awareness week and a prime minister who wants to end buy-one-get-one-free marketing. Ocado, the grocery delivery company that gave customers the option of scheduling a delivery when a van is already planning to be in the neighborhood, has another nudge for eliminating some of the waste that analysts say would feed 19 million people.

According to a press release, Ocado’s research into the reasons behind food waste indicates that “forgetting to check when a product needs to be used by” is the third most common reason for wasting food (“cooking too much” is the top reason). Along with every delivery, the company is now printing up a new receipt that lists all fresh foods – from single ingredients to prepared meals – by best before dates.

Ocado says having your groceries delivered by its vans produces a lower carbon footprint than if you walked to the store and bought them yourself. How is that possible? In part, by building warehouses that are much greener than traditional stores and sending groceries out in bio diesel trucks.

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