The evidence is overwhelming, and the statistics are staggering, about the benefits of a plant-based diet. Many experts agree that the global meat industry has a larger carbon footprint than the world’s entire transport sector. The amount of water needed to produce animal proteins, from beef to eggs to cheese, concerns many considering the world’s struggle with securing this precious resource. And with the COP21 talks in Paris underway, more analysts are suggesting that less meat consumption is critical if the world is serious about attaining any sort of long-term climate goals.
Then, of course, are the ethics of factory farming and the impact that an excessive amount of meat can have on human health. To that end, The Purple Carrot and its new chief innovation officer, former New York Times columnist and celebrated author, Mark Bittman, want to do something about it.
Bittman has joined forces with Andy Levitt, the founder of The Purple Carrot, to bring vegan cuisine to more homes. Their collaboration is a quest to deliver creative plant-based meals that will be both healthful and easy to prepare.
Neither Levitt or Bittman is advocating for a 100-percent vegan diet. As with any social change, they are advocating for a slow turn in that direction, and to make their case, cite statistics that build the case for less meat and more plant-based meals. A boost of legumes and veggies in one’s diet can reduce the risk of high blood pressure by over half; decrease the danger of heart disease by a third; and cut the odds of having stomach cancer by almost 25 percent. Vegans, according to research out there, also tend to have a lower body mass index and outlive their carnivore peers as well. Just skipping that occasional burger, or eating vegan a few days a week, can cut one’s personal carbon footprint while improving health.
Of course, what one doesn’t know (how long must I soak those lentils?) can be intimidating, so Bittman and The Purple Carrot aim to make preparing these meals easy for you. Visitors to the TPC (could this be the kinder, gentler KFC?) site can choose a plan for two or four people, receive all the pre-measured ingredients, and are ensured their meals will be mostly organic, always non-GMO and ethically sourced. Current recipes include a risotto, chili beans with cornbread, and pan-fried cakes made with mushrooms and nuts. Bittman has created and tested all of the recipes. And, as is the case with your community supported agricultural (CSA) deliveries, shipments can be skipped for a week and orders can be customized.
Can The Purple Carrot succeed? The company is growing rapidly, according to Fast Company, with its Boston headquarters servicing 25 states and a new distribution center in Los Angeles set to supply customers in the West Coast and Southwestern states.
As with any new product or service, quality and pricing will make a difference. Some may balk at the cost of the plans, but put into context, The Purple Carrot provides a middle ground between eating out and cooking meals from scratch. The meal plans’ prices are about the same as what a couple would pay for one meal out at a nice restaurant. But instead, a customer is scoring multiple meals, and far more nutritious ones, which in turn are eaten in the comfort of home.
If this company can familiarize more consumers with fresh produce and vegan ingredients, while encouraging more couples and families to eat at home, it will accomplish quite an impressive social mission while enjoying a healthy balance sheet.
Image credit: The Purple Carrot
Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media. His previous work can be found at The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.