Delicious Meals Propel Sustainability Efforts at Fordham University

Plant-Forward Meals Drive Sustainability Progress at Fordham University

Fordham University is making significant strides in its sustainability goals, thanks to the unexpected appeal of its plant-forward meals.

A Shared Commitment to a Better World

In the Fall 2022 semester, Fordham introduced Coolfood Meals to its menu offerings. These meals, certified climate-friendly by the World Resources Institute (WRI), are marked with a Coolfood badge, allowing students to easily identify items with a low climate impact. Aramark Collegiate Hospitality, Fordham’s dining services provider, was the first in the U.S. to adopt Coolfood Meals and to sign WRI’s Coolfood Pledge, committing to reduce food-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

Continuing its mission to lower emissions, Aramark recently joined Fordham as a signatory of New York City’s Plant-Powered Carbon Challenge, a partnership aimed at reducing food-related carbon emissions across the city.

Alan Horowitz, Vice President of Sustainability at Aramark, reaffirms this commitment: “We’re proud to join the Plant-Powered Carbon Challenge as an extension of our existing Coolfood Pledge. Our journey to reduce food emissions continues through expanded plant-forward choices, procurement, and culinary innovation.”

Plant-Forward Evolution and Popularity

With the introduction of Coolfood Meals, Aramark has proactively promoted plant-forward options at Fordham, focusing on meals that highlight vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains without eliminating all animal-based foods. Early adopters at Fordham embraced these options as a lifestyle choice, discovering that they not only contribute to a greener future but are also delicious. The popularity of these meals has expanded beyond early adopters due to their taste appeal, with even the university’s football team embracing the plant-forward offerings.

Deming Yaun, University Dining Contract Liaison, highlights the impact of these tasty meals: “Increasing the offerings and consumption of ‘taste-centered’ plant-forward options in our campus restaurants embodies Fordham’s mission. It’s about finding solutions to urgent problems while standing for positive impact,” said Yaun.

Regular tasting events hosted by Aramark’s Registered Dietitians (RDs) introduce new plant-forward dishes to students, ensuring the menus are always evolving. Additionally, specific plant-based focus groups are conducted each semester to gather feedback and learn about student preferences for sustainable menu items.

“Our partnership at Fordham is a dynamic model that shows the power of shared vision and action,” said Brisbane Vaillancourt, Regional Vice President for Aramark Collegiate Hospitality. “By looking at our quantitative student feedback and closely listening to our students and campus communities, we can design a hospitality experience that makes a difference and contributes to university goals.”

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