Celebrating Sustainability with Plant-Based Menus

Published on : 6/3/22
  • The slogan for World Environment Day 2022 is “Only One Earth”, with a focus on living sustainably in harmony with nature.

    From simple day-to-day choices like taking away food in a reusable container to phasing out of plastic straws, there are a myriad of ways and depths for one to reduce their impact on mother nature. Swiftly taking over the world by storm, plant-based eating has been under the spotlight as a means to leading a greener lifestyle.

    What is plant-based eating? 

    Plant-based eating focuses on the consumption of food that is made from and sourced mainly from minimally processed plants, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts. 

    One overarching theme of plant-based eating is flexitarianism, the middle ground between flexibility and vegetarianism. Nationally, flexitarians are the fastest growing consumer group, revealed in a 2020 Singapore research supported by Enterprise Singapore. Alongside creative innovations like Impossible Meat and global movements like Green Monday taking the hotseat, plant-based foods are increasingly recognised by a wider community - proving their long-term worth and growth potential among food and beverage businesses and consumers.

    Adopting Plant-based Foods into our Kitchens and Menu 

    At Sodexo, we ride on the innovation wave to create unique and fresh options for our consumers. In conjunction with Earth Day 2022, the team at Malaysia whipped up a refined Peranakan Heritage plant-based cuisine. The challenge lies with creating not only delicious, but also sustainable dishes that unlocks the value of plant-based ingredients. 

    Peranakan Inspired Dishes

    Keeping close to the Peranakan roots, the team introduced appetisers such as traditional Otak-Otak on a bed of local Kerabu and Tapioca Chips; and mains like Roti Jala served with Plant Base Rendang. These dishes were available from April through May for our consumers in schools and workplaces. 

    In April this year, the Singapore team partnered with award winning Chef Bjorn Shen to launch a plant-based menu for Sodexo’s existing customers. Inspired by Chef Bjorn’s vision and life influences, the Earth Day menu draws from his Middle Eastern specialty, using locally sourced ingredients while being big on flavour.

    Sodexo x Bjorn Partnership

    The carefully crafted innovations were also brought to our #SodexoXBjorn pop-up at LinkedIn, where our consumers enjoyed the yummy spectrum of dishes on this newly launched menu.

    Pop-Up at LinkedIn APAC Office

    From appetisers to mains, each dish exudes a colourful array of unique ingredients to bring a different experience for our consumers. The menu serves as a great example of how one can elevate close-to-the-heart, homely dishes with sustainable alternatives and still retain the same great taste - all while equally enjoying the health benefits and lower environmental impact caused with just a subtle change.

    Plant-Based Spread

    The introduction of these dishes helps to meet the rising consumer demand for healthier and more sustainable food options due to a range of health and environmental factors. Alongside many other plant-based ingredients, the inclusion of roasted pumpkins in the warm salad acts as a rich source of carotenoids, which can be converted to Vitamin A – an essential in building a strong immune system. For more than two decades, research has proven that adopting a plant-based diet also decreases one’s risk for cancer and Type 2 diabetes. 

    This is accompanied by a reduction in environmental impact in areas like energy consumption and carbon emissions. Altogether, they contribute to a slowdown in climate change and increased security in our global food supply, in turn combating world hunger for the long run.

    A Journey Towards Achieving Long-Term Sustainability Goals

    This is not the first time Sodexo has collaborated with external partners globally to leverage each other’s capabilities. To support its commitment to propose 33% plant-based dishes in our menus by 2025, Sodexo has launched the Future Food Collective; a collaborative research initiative bringing its chefs together with industry experts and key suppliers to reshape consumption habits. By partnering with NGOs such as the Food for Climate League, the Future Food Collective is gathering insights to develop new plant-based innovative solutions that encourage consumers to prefer healthy, sustainable foods that are more respectful of the environment. Previous touchpoints with Knorr and World Wildlife Fund-UK helped generate the Future 50s Food Report, which details 50 plant-based ingredients that are both nutritious and have a lower environmental impact, some of which are used in Chef Bjorn’s menu. Each opportunity augments the next, and while there is no single “perfectly sustainable lifestyle”, baby steps contribute to getting us closer to our long-term sustainability goals.

    Protecting our “Only One Earth” 

    Regardless of size or scale, every effort marks a milestone towards championing a sustainable future, aligned with our Better Tomorrow 2025 roadmap. Adopting a plant-based diet is only one of the many ways one can play their part in conserving our “Only One Earth”. This World Environment Day on 5th June, get creative with the things you can do to start a sustainable lifestyle! From bringing along recyclable bags when shopping to opting for plant-based alternatives in your diet, the Earth is yours to protect.

    Explore the endless possibilities for you to stay sustainable and make a difference today!