Seminole Dining at Florida State University launches climate-friendly meal choices through ‘Cool Food Badges’

This spring, Seminole Dining at Florida State University is making it easier for students and the campus community to choose climate-friendly foods through the launch of a new initiative that identifies dishes with a lower carbon footprint.

Last October, World Resources Institute (WRI) announced that its Cool Food Meals badge will appear on Aramark menus as part of a 10-university pilot program to encourage sustainable practices.

“Florida State University is pleased to participate in this new program as it aligns well with our strategic plan and goal to strengthen our commitment to sustainability,” said Kyle Clark, vice president for Finance & Administration at FSU. “The Cool Food Meals program lets students actively participate in the university’s work to reduce its overall carbon footprint.”

By measuring the carbon footprint of hundreds of Aramark recipes, WRI identified items that meet the Cool Food Meals criteria. The criteria are based on the item’s ingredients and the land used to produce the meal. If a dish’s carbon footprint fell below an established per-meal threshold and met a nutrition safeguard, it was approved as a Cool Food Meal.

“Our campus has some of the most environmentally conscious students and they already know that we will go above and beyond to provide them with meals that are good for both people and planet,” said Sarah Williams, sustainability coordinator for Seminole Dining. “This pilot, combined with our current sustainability initiatives and programs, will show Seminole Dining as a leader in sustainable dining throughout higher education.”

Aramark’s commitment to the planet is a core part of the company’s sustainability plan — “Be Well. Do Well.” Aramark is focused on several initiatives addressing climate change and is working to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by offering more vegan and vegetarian meals, sourcing responsibly, operating more efficiently, minimizing food waste and reducing packaging.

Cool Food Meals can be found on campus at Suwannee Room and Seminole Cafe. Some examples of Seminole Dining dishes that will be labeled as a Cool Food Meal include Zucchini Bolognese, Sweet Potato and Corn Flatbread, and Pesto Grilled Vegetable Wrap.

Aramark is the first contract catering company to adopt the Cool Food Meals badge. Since 2015, Aramark has increased its climate-healthy, plant-forward menu options through its Healthy for Life® initiative. Currently, more than 35% of main dishes the company serves on menus at workplaces, hospital cafes, and university dining halls in the United States are vegetarian or vegan.

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