When I started Cibo Meals in 2016, my goal was to introduce my customers to new ingredients and exciting ethnic, international, and creative flavors. That mission quickly expanded in the months that followed to encompass sustainability and the prudent use of resources.
I believe our world would have a better, more sustainable future if every person ate at least two meat-free dinners each week. Livestock agriculture is a huge source of greenhouse gases, and commercial overfishing threatens to wipe out ecosystems and species.
At Cibo, we want to do our part to stop these trends by transforming dining tables in the Denver Metro area one meal at a time with our delicious, ready-to-eat, vegetarian meals.
Our focus on sustainability is directed inward too. I’ve done my best to make every element of our company as ecologically neutral as possible.
The Cibo Jar
At the core of our sustainability business model is our glass jars. We deliver ready-to-eat meals in reusable 32- and 16-ounce Mason jars. Instead of using the rings and the seals that come with them, we secure the jar with a recyclable, reusable plastic lid that has a far longer lifespan. We give the rings and seals away to local canners and others so they can be used and repurposed.
More than 90% of our business is with repeat customers – ranging from weekly to occasional. When we make our rounds, they place their rinsed, empty jars and caps on the doorstep inside the same Cibo tote bag we delivered them in.
We swap out a new bag containing their fresh meals and take back the used bag and items back to safely use again. It’s kind of like the neighborhood milk delivery service people relied on decades ago that’s still around today!
Returning the jars is based on the honor system, no deposit is required. If a customer chooses to keep one of our jars, we hope they’ll use and reuse it for their own purposes in an environmentally friendly way.
The Cibo Tote Bag
Cibo meal jars are delivered in a bright green, reusable, insulated bag. In warm weather we include a reusable freezer pack. Along with the jars and lids, our customers return the bags and freezer packs to us next time we deliver to them.
The Extra “Stuff”
We don’t load the Cibo tote bag with napkins, plastic utensils, condiments, and random packets like you’d find in a typical fast-food takeout bag. Often our meals come with a side or a topping option and these will be in their own small container that we ask you to recycle if possible.
The Cibo Kitchen
We work out of a shared commercial kitchen space in the Rocky Mountain Commissary in Arvada. On the one hand this reduces our costs so we can keep our prices low. But we think sharing space like this is also the right, sustainable thing to do since we don’t take up any more room than we need and we’re efficiently sharing equipment and utilities.
We buy our fresh, perishable ingredients for immediate use from local specialty markets, sustainable gardens, and markets – all with minimal packaging. We buy our nonperishable ingredients in bulk, and we store them securely in a large pantry in my home. This, too, minimizes the amount of packaging that needs to be disposed of or recycled.
Good for Planet Earth. Good for You.
It’s interesting to consider that often what’s good for our bodies, like a vegetarian diet, is also good for our global environment. The small steps we take toward a healthier, vegetarian diet parallels the contribution each of us can make to protect our planet and minimize harmful impacts on our environment.
Small steps are actually big steps and sustainability and vegetarianism truly do go hand in hand.