Use of a corporate framework for social and environmental responsibility at a food service company

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1 Use of a corporate framework for social and environmental responsibility at a food service company Presentation to the National Academies Workshop on Mapping the Food System and its Effects Helene York, Bon Appétit Management Company 1

2 We Are: Onsite restaurant and catering company since Private residential colleges, corporations, limited number of specialty venues. 500 locations in 32 states, serve ~ 200 million meals annually. Approximately 10 million separate transactions for food supplies annually. (Our supply chains are complicated.) 2

3 But we are unusual in our industry: Chefs write their own recipes, determine their own menus. There is no corporate chef. We pioneered the concept of Farm to Fork in years before the word locavore. The company sets standards, goals, educates our chefs, monitors purchases, network of distributors. Chefs and company engages with suppliers and distributors to influence their behavior, also to constrain what they can sell to our chefs. Educate the group purchasing organization that serves all of our sister companies by negotiating contracts with national suppliers. 3

4 4

5 Case Study: Proteins Land-based Poultry Eggs Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) Beef Hogs Water-based Wild Farmed 5

6 Evolution of a Framework Started with a culinary approach; start with the notion of real food, made from scratch, in small batches to control potential waste from over-preparation. Raw parts: no pre-cooked, not pre-marinated. Beef roasted in house, soup stocks made in house with roasted bones. Allowed our chefs to control excess fats, sodium, sugars, virtually no preservatives. 6

7 Stage 2: Awareness of Supply Constraints Committed to serve no species on the science-based Seafood Watch Red List, on the Federal list of likely contaminated with methyl mercury, and educate our chefs and guests about seafood issues. 7

8 Stage 3: Casting a Wider Net 2004: Commitment to eschew meats raised with routine antibiotics, artificial hormones. 2006: Cage-free, Certified Humane shell eggs on a national scale. 8

9 Stage 4: Programmatic Initiative Low Carbon Diet Program (2007) 1) Menu Engineering: Reduction of beef and cheese over 2 years Eliminate air-freighted seafood 50% reduction in tropical fruits (air-freighted) Radical reduction in food waste (kitchen, consumer) and promotion of composting wherever possible 2) Educate our staff, guests, and media. 3) Monitor practices, change our culture. 9

10 Using LCA as a discipline 10

11 Stage 5: Things get more complicated What are we capable of taking-on effectively as a large purchaser (but not a behemoth)? How do we balance trade-offs that exist with most product choices, and more commonly in some regions than others? How do we engender change (more responsible supply) rather than simply add to the growing chorus of demanders with constrained supply (e.g. green-listed seafood species)? How do we meet a growing demands from our guests for specific certifications? Or specific definitions of sustainability? 11

12 What Our Consumers Want: Labels ORGANIC LOCAL AND SMALL HALAL AND KOSHER CERTIFIED HUMANE OR PASTURED MEAT FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED CAGE FREE 20% REAL FOOD 12

13 What Our Consumers Want ORGANIC LOCAL AND SMALL HALAL AND KOSHER CERTIFIED HUMANE OR PASTURED MEAT FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED CAGE FREE 20% REAL FOOD CEREAL BACON PIZZA 13

14 Framework, now, more nuanced As always, we lead with good food. Fresh vegetables are half the plate, exciting whole grains are 1/4, and protein is increasingly becoming a delicious garnish. The plate is now 60% of the size it used to be. We continue to educate chefs and managers, and inspire them to use their personal creativity to implement successfully. Recognize that true sustainability embraces many important values including responsible natural resource usage, conservation, solid worker and animal welfare, maintaining biodiversity, as well as producing sufficient yields. And that some values will come into conflict. To wit: The Case of The Compassionate Bird. 14

15 Initiatives for Change 1. Whole Carcass Utilization buying the tips/ends, tails, collars, scrape from meat or seafood that has been trimmed by meat and seafood processors for more uniform purposes. 15

16 Initiatives for Change 2. Delivering local produce much more efficiently for the farmers, chefs, and in an energy-efficient way. 16

17 Initiatives for Change 3. Seasonal fruits, no asparagus in winter, and yellow watermelon: substituting what can be made available regionally in place of rigid must have year-round products. 17

18 Initiatives for Change 4. What we can t get or substitute regionally e.g. bananas my client has made a commitment to Rainforest Alliance certified bananas which guarantees meeting strong environmental and social responsibility criteria. 18

19 Support Innovations A sampling: 7. More low-trophic species especially seafood. 8. Support for responsible aquaculture. 9. Low-water, low-energy, indoor, soil-based lettuce growing. 19

20 We ve learned: To be cautious about calling anything sustainable food or a sustainable farm without a sustainable food system. Best Practices are no substitute for innovation. They are merely a good starting point. 20

21 Question: How large and dynamic is the market for healthier choices? Perhaps a better question is: How large and dynamic will the market be 20 years from now when today s college students are parents and middle-aged decision-makers? 21

22 Question If the demand for meat is rising, who says we have to meet that demand? 22

23 Closing Thought: Local Food Not mere romanticism. Recognize them as part of your framework. Why? - Many are true product innovators. They are more costsensitive and therefore stingier with inputs. - They can be distributed efficiently. - They represent open space in many very urban areas. - They connect us to the fact that food comes from farms. - Their food generally IS fresher and tastier and lead to greater overall consumption of vegetables and fruits. - Competition is healthy. 23

24 Research Agenda Are large-scale rural farms the best way to produce an appropriate amount of nutritious food with the fewest inputs? - Feeding the City Project (Univ of Chicago, Indiana) 24

25 Thank You 25

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