Fewer than three weeks on the job and I have the privilege of writing my first official blog post about the release of exciting survey results from Sodexo’s Meatless Monday Initiative. Who is Sodexo and what are the exciting results, you ask?
First, let me introduce myself. I am the new Project Director of the Johns Hopkins Meatless Monday Project, which was launched in 2003 to serve as the scientific adviser to the national Meatless Monday campaign, a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). I recently completed my MSPH degree in Human Nutrition and certification as a Registered Dietitian through a coordinated program at the JHSPH. I am thrilled to be back at the Center in this capacity, and look forward to applying my knowledge, skills and enthusiasm surrounding food, nutrition, public health, and environmental sustainability to direct this exciting and dynamic project. Read More >
The Meatless Monday campaign just gained America’s protector of natural resources and heritage as one of its latest supporters. The U.S. Department of the Interior is one of Sodexo’s more than 2,000 corporate and government clients, which the food service giant encouraged to adopt its Meatless Monday initiative.
Sodexo announced today that it is all part of the company’s ongoing efforts to boost health and wellness and promote sustainability in the North American communities where it serves as many as 10 million meals a day. The Department of Interior joins several of Sodexo’s well-known clients, such as Toyota and Northern Trust Bank in adopting Meatless Monday.
The non-profit Meatless Monday campaign, which is operated out of New York City, was launched in 2003 with the help of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Center for a Livable Future. The public health campaign was first started simply to reduce America’s saturated fat consumption by 15%, following the recommendations of the Healthy People 2010 report issued by then U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher in 2000.
While reducing potential negative health effects, such as cardiovascular disease, remains a key goal, a few years ago the initiative expanded its focus to environmental impacts of intensive meat production. Those impacts can be quite substantial. Research suggests that it takes 20 times the amount of fossil-fuel energy to produce conventional beef protein than plant-based protein. According to a study out of California, it takes about 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. That’s almost ten times more than the 220 gallons water needed to produce a pound of tofu.
A Sodexo spokesperson says the Department of Interior reports that, “the population of customers at DOI is very health and environmentally conscience, so that Meatless Monday is a welcome addition to our program.” In a Sodexo news release, Toyota executive Will Nicklas was quoted as saying, “Meatless Monday has been successful here primarily because Sodexo helps our customers understand that it is not at all about becoming vegetarians or even weight loss, it’s about taking easy steps to guard our health and be good stewards of our environment.” Read More >
The national non-profit Meatless Monday campaign is proving to be “The Little Engine That Could” in the environmental public health world. In just the last two years national awareness of Meatless Monday more than doubled. According to a commissioned survey by FGI Research more than 30 percent of Americans are aware of the public health campaign, compared to 15 percent awareness in 2008. No doubt the announcement last week that Sodexo, a food service company which serves more than 10 million North American customers a day, has adopted the campaign will only help to increase Meatless Monday’s popularity.
A number of Sodexo facilities including the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Cobblestone Cafe′ conducted their own Meatless Monday campaigns. However, starting this month Sodexo expanded the initiative to all of its more than 900 hospital clients, “as part of its ongoing effort to promote health and wellness.” In the spring, the company will offer menus and materials to all of its corporate and government clients and in the fall it will officially implement Meatless Monday at its “Sodexo-served” colleges and schools.
Sodexo joins a growing list of Meatless Monday supporters. Some of the most recent high-profile Meatless Monday converts include Moe’s Southwest Grill; Mario Batali, Celebrity Chef and restaurateur; Laurie David, An Inconvenient Truth producer and dozens of municipalities, universities, colleges, and restaurants. Read More >