(This article was from the University of California, Riverside “Seeds of Change” program.)
UCR Dining Services provides food that is healthier, sustainable and ethically sourced. UCR nutrition programming will be based on the Menus of Change Leadership Initiative.
The Menus of Change Initiative
Menus of Change®: The Business of Healthy, Sustainable, Delicious Food Choices is a ground-breaking initiative from The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that works to realize a long-term, practical vision integrating optimal nutrition and public health, environmental stewardship and restoration, and social responsibility concerns within the food service industry and the culinary profession.
Now in its fifth year, Menus of Change has established a compelling new agenda for the food service industry through an annual leadership summit at the CIA’s Hyde Park campus, an annual report on the state of the industry, and an ongoing series of tools and guidance for food service professionals. The initiative’s thought-leadership includes:
- Showing that changing menus is a powerful, and previously underappreciated, way to drive improvements in our health, our planet, and also is the most important part of doing business in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
- Connecting dietary change and sustainability, and setting the stage for incorporating sustainability into the recommendations of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report to inform the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Bringing attention to protein, both animal- and plant-based, to show how that macronutrient category has the largest impact on the environment including climate change.
- Making plant-forward dining a mainstream concept in the culinary profession and foodservice industry, with a clear vision for a new way to cook and serve food to others.
- Introducing or advancing new considerations for menus and ingredient choices that are now mainstream, such as the water footprint of food and how to reduce antibiotic use in livestock production.
Along the way, the Menus of Change initiative has engaged thousands of leaders in the foodservice industry around this vision. Involvement in Menus of Change has led to substantial changes in what these foodservice operators choose to buy and serve to diners:
- Of recent Menus of Change summit attendees, more than 80 percent have changed their menus and dining formats as a result of attending the annual program series.
- Over half of these same attendees have changed their sourcing practices.
- From corporate dining to multi-unit restaurant groups, operators across the country are adopting the Menus of Change platform and principles as part of their strategic planning process.
- Nearly 50 college and university foodservice operations–members of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative–are conducting and sharing research and education in support of culinary-centric, evidence-based food systems innovation within and beyond universities.
In 2017, Menus of Change continues to put new issues at the top of the industry’s agenda and provide insights and guidance for succeeding at the business of healthy, sustainable, and delicious food.