Aramark Plans to Reduce Emissions of Food it Serves: Here’s How

Low Carbon Food

(Credit: Aramark)

by | Jun 14, 2022

Low Carbon Food

(Credit: Aramark)

By expanding the availability of meals that have lower carbon footprint, food service provider Aramark plans to considerably cut the greenhouse gas emissions of the food it serves.

Aramark says it will cut emissions associated with the food it provides in the United States by 25% by 2030. As part of the plan, the company will increase the use of the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Cool Food Meals program, which identifies the emissions produced by each dish.

The effort is part of Aramark’s goal to reach net-zero emissions and is a priority since it says nearly half the company’s emissions come from the food it buys and serves. Additionally, the company is signing the WRI’s Cool Food Pledge.

The United Nations says food systems produce about a third of the world’s emissions. Of that, nearly two-thirds come from agriculture and land use.

Using ingredient lists, WRI calculates the carbon footprint of a meal by analyzing the agricultural supply chain and land used to produce the food. If the food meets emissions and nutritional standards it is certified as a Cool Food Meal.

WRI says in the US the emissions threshold for breakfast is 3.59 kilograms carbon dioxide equivalent per portion, and 5.38 kilograms carbon dioxide equivalent per portion for lunch and dinner.

A similar program is set to begin in the fall of 2022 when 300 college campuses will start using carbon labeling, indicating the sustainability of their dining hall menus. The Chartwells program will use HowGood’s impact data that provides information on emissions, water use, and land use, among other factors, of the ingredients they use.

Food producers have attempted to curb emissions as well. Examples include New Zealand’s Silver Fern Farm’s net-zero beef and Ben & Jerry’s using a seaweed supplement to feed its cows, which is estimated to reduce methane emissions by 80%.

Aramark plans to increase the availability of Cool Food Meals to 1,500 US locations, including its higher education, workplace, and healthcare offerings, beginning in January 2023. The company says it became the first contract catering company to adopt WRI’s Cool Food Meals badge on menus during a spring 2022 pilot program at 10 universities that included more than 350 food items.

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