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Food giant Sodexo serves up Meatless Mondays across the US
by Kathryn Robbins on January 24, 2011
Americans are finally getting the old adage, “you are what you eat.” Programs like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Meatless Monday have gotten people thinking twice about hitting that fast food drive thru. Meatless Monday got a huge boost when institutional food giant Sodexo to promote their program in hundreds of corporate cafeterias, senior centers, and university dining halls.
The basis of the Meatless Monday program is simple; ditch your meatloaf in favor of “healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives” one day a week. Created with help from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in 2003, the program promotes not only the health advantages of a meat free meal, but also its environmental impact.
The UN estimates that livestock generate one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and it is estimated that if everyone in the US followed the plan we’d save twelve billion gallons of gas each year. Factory farms that churn out poultry also add nasty stuff like antibiotic-resistant bacteria, undigested drugs, heavy metals, and nitrogen into the water supply.
Besides adding a plant-based entree to their weekly menus the food firm plans on keeping the idea of a Meatless Monday fresh. Client reps will get updates from Sodexo every four months and will include the following: promo materials, educational content, brand new recipes. Sodexo started off their Meatless Mondays campaign with a test run at a number of hospitals and educational institutions. The company plans on extending the program to almost 900 hospitals this month and plans on rolling out the plan to 2,000 corporate kitchens and 175 government sites.
While the Meatless Monday campaign hasn’t hit every single Sodexo run site, their initiative could make a massive difference in the long run. The company has 6,000 clients in North America alone and serves 9.3 million meals each day. Because of their massive operations Sodexo pockets eight billion dollars a year in revenue.
Sodexo’s investment in the Meatless Monday program may silence current critics of the program as well as others like Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative called “Let’s Move.” Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck need to realize that we need a serious change when it comes to our eating habits. We’re eating 31% more calories than we were in 1970 and our fat intake has jumped 56%. Going a day without a hamburger or a chicken entree isn’t about giving up your freedom, it’s about being good to yourself and the planet.