Uber Eats has added food-allergy filters to its app to make meal ordering easier for customers with restricted diets, and it’s also giving everyone the ability to opt out of single-use utensils that are falling out of favor with customers and some municipalities. According to a company blog post, restaurants are being directed to no longer include such disposable items by default.
“Research suggests that single-use plastics harm the environment by disrupting the productivity of natural systems like our oceans and clogging urban infrastructure,” wrote Emily Boman, global policy for Uber Eats. “If current trends continue, one study estimates that by 2050 the plastic waste in the ocean will outweigh the fish.”
On food allergies, the post on the Uber Newsroom said, “It’s pretty likely you’ve had to pass on a dining or experience or two” if you’re one of the millions of people living with a food allergy. To make this easier, Uber’s app now includes allergy-friendly filters that will make it easier to communicate allergies to restaurants and filter out restaurants that aren’t compatible with certain allergies.
Boman concluded by saying that “this is just a first step toward the reduction of plastic waste,” and it’s safe to assume that customers will increasingly pay attention to the environmental consequences of individual meal delivery, along with a pushback on the excess packaging used to send everything to homes, including Amazon orders.
Thinking of how big a challenge allergies are for restaurants these days, the move makes perfect sense for customers who are limited to certain restaurants or cuisine types.
On environmental sustainability, the delivery world has a massive stake in reducing the impact of its business model given its scale and rapid growth. It’s a safe bet these issues will become even more urgent as delivery claims an even larger share of the overall restaurant industry.