Aramark debuts Cool Food Meals at 10 universities, identifies 350 lower-carbon footprint dishes

Jan. 3, 2022

Aramark, the nation's largest foodservice provider, will make it easier for students at 10 universities to make climate-friendly choices by adding its new "Cool Food Meals" to residential dining menus this semester.

Last October, World Resources Institute announced its Cool Food Meals badge will appear on Aramark menus, as part of a 10-university pilot beginning in the spring 2022 semester. The Cool Food Meals badge identifies dishes with a lower-carbon footprint and will appear on more than 350 menu items Aramark will serve in residential dining rooms.

Among the universities participating in the pilot are Arizona State University, Florida State University, Slippery Rock University, St. Bonaventure University, and the University of California Irvine, along with the University of Mississippi, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the University of Virginia and Western Washington University.

WRI measured the carbon footprint of hundreds of Aramark’s recipes to identify items that meet Cool Food Meals criteria, based on the ingredients from farm to fork, and the land used to produce the meal. If a dish’s carbon footprint falls below an established per-meal threshold, and also meets nutrition safeguards, it is approved as a Cool Food Meal. Some examples of Aramark dishes that will be labeled as a Cool Food Meal include Mediterranean Falafel Plate, Five Spice Sesame Tofu Salad Bowl, Shawarma Chicken Ciabatta, and Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Sandwich.

“We are excited to make it easier for students to identify climate-friendly choices on dining menus, with the addition of the Cool Food Meals badge,” said Jack Donovan, president and chief executive of Aramark’s higher education business. “Our own research has shown that 60% of consumers want to reduce their meat intake. Our 350 Cool Food Meals recipes use less beef and lamb, so we are meeting our guests’ desires, as well as making these items climate-friendly.”

Aramark said it is the first contract catering company to adopt the Cool Food Meals badge.