I say to people all the time that the true mission of Good Eats Kitchen is to “Enrich the lives of the people and the communities in which we operate”. This statement is more than just a marketing spin or mission statement, it is the core of what GEK is all about. I have a passion for both food and hospitality, what true Cajun doesn’t?! I believe that through GEK I am able to utilize my passions to help to give others the time to pursue their passions.
This philosophy lies at the heart of all of our decisions at GEK. I love hearing all of the stories from our customers about how our meals help them live the lives they want or at least help to manage the busy days when they don’t have time. I am also quite proud of the community impact initiatives that we have put in place in just our first year. Although we are still quite a young organization I feel as though we have successfully laid the foundation for a company legacy that I can be proud of with one exception…our packaging.
I have struggled from the beginning with the fact that we are putting thousands of plastic containers out into the world each week. I felt somewhat hypocritical when speaking our Mission Statement, how can we enrich our communities when we are pumping them full of plastic? I am excited to say that we have found the solution! Effective October 1st we are switching our containers from the plastic bottoms and lids to a Bio Friendly package!
Produced by a company called Eco Products, our container bottoms are made from SUGAR CANE by product called bagasse. Bagasse is the fibrous pulp that remains after sugar cane stalks are pressed to extract their juice. These container bottoms are 100% biodegradable and compostable in commercial facilities. The only catch to this new packaging is that the lid is not microwave safe…a fair price to pay in my opinion when considering that we are moving to a product that is completely eco friendly. The lid is made from 100% post consumer recycled material! So the packaging as a whole is made with either post consumer recycled or rapidly replenishing, plant based natural resources. I could not be more excited to make this switch.
In addition to our containers we are also switching our cutlery. Traditional plastics are made from petroleum based products. This new utensil is made from Polylactic acid (PLA) or “corn plastic” and is made from annually renewable resources rather than oil based products. These disposable, single use utensils are heat resistant up to 200 degrees and are also biodegradable and compostable in commercial facilities.
With this switch comes an increase in cost to GEK. It is unfortunate that doing what is right for our environment usually is more expensive to the operation. This eco-initiative is quite important to me despite the increase in cost. In order to help offset the cost, and because the packaging is mostly biodegradable, we will be eliminating the GEK in-store ’10 for 10 Recycle Discount Program’. We have recently launched a Loyalty Program to give our customers the opportunity to receive the same benefits as the 10 for 10 Program all while minimizing the carbon footprint of GEK as an operation.
With this new product initiative we are also broadening our in house recycle program and utilizing our partnership with Republic Services and their Single Stream recycling at our production facility. Our goal by end of 2018 is to recycle 100% of the plastic, glass, paper, and cardboard that enters our kitchen from our vendor partners. I have also had initial conversations with a few local farmers to launch a Pre Consumer Bio Waste Composting program. We use only fresh vegetables in the GEK production kitchen and have the potential to produce some pretty incredible compost for local farming operations.
I am excited to have Good Eats Kitchen help lead the way in ecologically responsible business practices in the South Louisiana region. I truly hope this new packaging makes our customers as proud of our organization and the impact we are trying to make in Acadiana as I am. Now there is no guilt in letting GEK Cook For You!