Adapting to the Demand for Plant-Based Alternatives

Published on : 4/22/21
  • Sodexo is committed to reducing our environmental impact through responsible consumption. This includes steadfast commitment to promoting a healthier eating culture. Our approach to healthy eating is anchored on four core factors: responsible sourcing; prevention of food waste; nutrition, health and well-being; and promoting plant-based meals.

    The Underlying Motivation

    Sodexo intends to contribute meaningfully to the quality of life of the communities we serve, which is why we aim to provide consumers the option to go for healthier and more sustainable alternatives.

    A plant-based diet means more vitamins and minerals, while contributing the reduction of carbon footprint that comes with raising livestock. This is just one of the rationales behind our endeavour to increase the quantity of our “low-carbon” menus.

    Increasing Consumer Options

    The increasing popularity of plant-based and plant-forward food options is a result of the evolving food consumption and consumer ethos. Consumers are now actively opting for food options that are aligned with their values – be it ethical or environmental philosophies.

    James Liauw, Head of Food Platform, Malaysia & Singapore, shared: 

    Plant-based diet is no longer a trend. It is a social shift. Over the past couple of years, we can see the obvious change of diet across Asia. Singapore is the most mature market for plant-based foods in Asia. Based on a 2020 study1, 2 out of 5 Singaporeans are already embracing a more flexitarian diet.

    Global environmental and animal welfare organisations are advocating a shift toward plant-based diets, recognising that this is one of the most crucial actions to take towards a more sustainable future.

    Balance Burger

    Balance Burger, our meatless burger offer specially developed for Dulwich College (Singapore). 

    A Collaborative Approach

    One global organisation that is heavily pushing for the adoption of more plant-based food options to menus is Humane Society International (HSI). HSI is supporting Sodexo’s food services operations in influencing behavioural change towards delicious, sustainable, plant-based menu items.

    This is not a first for Sodexo. Two years ago, we launched over 200 plant-based recipes with the goal to bring plant-based menu items to schools and universities in Singapore. Sodexo’s partnership with HSI will elevate Sodexo’s range of plant-based menu options across more accounts, with additional exciting initiatives, including training Sodexo chefs on plant-based cooking techniques and developing custom plant-based recipes. 

    The partnership was officially launched in 2020, with its first plant-based culinary training initiated by HSI in October of the same year. The culinary training was led by HSI’s consultant, chef Shalu of Little Green Kitchen. In attendance were all the chefs of Sodexo Singapore’s Schools and Universities segment. Following the training, the Sodexo Schools and Universities accounts aim to significantly expand its plant-based menu offers that is collectively better for our overall health and the environment. The partnership banks on the innovative ideas of our chefs in the menu development process; and HSI's commitment to create a humane and sustainable world.

    Chef Training

    Sodexo's chefs and managers during the culinary training.

    Pan-fried Gnocchi with Mixed Herb Pesto

    One of their creations was Pan-fried Gnocchi with Mixed Herb Pesto.

    A Personal Journey

    Sian Petigny, Corporate Responsibility Director, Asia Pacific, shared her personal commitment to advocate for the adoption of a plant-based diet:

    My transition to a predominantly plant-based diet began with a personal commitment to reduce my carbon footprint in 2017 when I realised that one of the most significant environmental actions I could take was to reduce my consumption of animal-based protein.  So, I gradually stopped eating meat and fish, and then targeted reducing dairy products. My body welcomed the change and I felt positive health impacts within just 2 weeks. My mind felt clearer, I was less fatigued and had more energy.

    My tip for success is to cut yourself some slack occasionally. I thought it would be impossible to say goodbye forever to cheese and yoghurt, and so I allow myself the occasional ‘cheat meal’.  I have the occasional piece of salmon, an old favourite, but I will try to source sustainable seafood.

    Having seen the benefits of plant-based diets first-hand, I am extremely excited to work with our partners and clients to introduce delicious and sustainable menu options to consumers and positively impact their quality of life as well as the environment!

    Sodexo and HSI are also looking forward to more collaborative events, aimed at improving sustainability; health and well-being; and animal welfare. Promoting plant-based meals is just a fraction of Sodexo’s story.

    Check out Sodexo’s new Sustainability White Paper for tips on how we can build a collective, purposeful future, or learn more about our positive impact

    1 YouGov Plan & Track, February 2020
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