Aramark (NYSE: ARMK), a global leader in food, facilities and uniforms, announced that it will partner with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to conduct a series of plant-based culinary training over the next six months as part of its ongoing efforts to develop strategies that increase plant-based food offerings for consumers. Currently, as part of its Healthy for Life 20 By 20 commitment with the American Heart Association, 30 percent of the main dishes Aramark serves across its dining operations in Healthcare, Higher Education and Business Dining are vegan or vegetarian, and 10 percent feature whole grains as their main ingredient.
The goal of the new training partnership is to further enable the company’s 1000+ chefs who serve millions of meals daily in hospitals, schools and workplaces to create meals, menus and dining concepts that center on foods including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. The curriculum will be developed together with The HSUS and Aramark’s culinary leadership, including culinary teams at accounts the company serves. Aramark will also engage with its external advisors, including health & wellness, environmental and animal welfare organizations, to track and report its progress on plant-based food offerings following these training.
Recent survey findings of Aramark consumers found that more than 60 percent of respondents believe that vegan, vegetarian and plant-forward (vegetables-as-center-of-the-plate, with smaller portions of meat) options are important. The vast majority of those consumers also believe these options are better for their health, the environment and animals.
“As part of our broad and ongoing commitment to health, wellness and sustainability, we continue to work towards offering more plant-forward menu options and alternate protein sources to Aramark guests,” said Dan Wainfan, who leads health & wellness for Aramark. “We are proud to work on culinary training and menu innovations which provide important health benefits to consumers, while minimizing our environmental impact.”
Today’s announcement builds on the separate alliance between Aramark and the American Heart Association (AHA.) Aramark and the AHA teamed up in 2015 for a five-year commitment to improve the health of Americans 20 percent by 2020. That goal will be achieved by reducing calories, saturated fat and sodium levels while increasing vegetables, whole grains and fruits across menus served in Aramark’s workplaces, hospital cafes and college residential dining halls. The commitment also includes public health education to enable consumers to make healthy food choices.
“The American Heart Association is proud of what we’ve accomplished working with Aramark to help improve the health of Americans. Aramark’s continued increase in plant-based offerings aligns extremely well with AHA recommendations,” according to the organization.
Aramark also announced its participation in The Culinary Institute of America’s Menus of Change Sustainable Business Leadership Council. Council members advise The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on the design of an annual leadership summit and the overall initiative, including identifying key issues to advance the business of healthy, sustainable, delicious food choices. The culinary trainings and new role on the CIA’s Sustainable Leadership Council will support Aramark’s ongoing efforts to increase plant-forward menus options and concepts across its dining operations.
“In five short years, Menus of Change has set a new direction for the foodservice industry, bringing attention to the role of protein on our menus and recipes, and spurring culinary innovation in plant-forward dining,” said Arlin Wasserman, founder and partner at Changing Tastes, and chair of the Menus of Change Sustainable Business Leadership Council. “The Council’s role is key to this success and its members, including Aramark, provide important insights and guidance from the foodservice and hospitality industry.”
Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) proudly serves Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, state-of-the-art healthcare providers, the world’s leading educational institutions, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world. Our 270,000 team members deliver experiences that enrich and nourish millions of lives every day through innovative services in food, facilities management and uniforms. We operate our business with social responsibility, focusing on initiatives that support our diverse workforce, advance consumer health and wellness, protect our environment, and strengthen our communities. Aramark is recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE, as well as an employer of choice by the Human Rights Campaign and DiversityInc.