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January 5, 2010

Compass Launches Landmark “Flexitarian” Initiative

World's largest food service company offers more meat-free choices

The Humane Society of the United States

bounteous buffet of vegetarian food

Joseph Luoman/iStockphoto

The Humane Society of the United States applauds Compass Group, the world's largest food service company, for its far-sighted, trend-setting "Be a Flexitarian" initiative.

Beginning immediately, the industry-leading corporation will expand the variety and supply of meat-free options for its customers—promoting healthier, more sustainable, and more humane eating.

Compass Group executives worked closely with The HSUS to develop the program, which will promote flexitarian eating in the company's 8,500 U.S. corporate and academic food service cafeterias. This initiative to promote the incorporation of more meat-free meals is the largest corporate program of its kind in the world.

Flex Appeal

A flexitarian is someone who actively integrates meatless meals into his or her diet when possible but isn't a full-time vegetarian.

"Compass Group recognizes that there should be more options in the marketplace for conscious consumers," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.

"It doesn't take an all-or-nothing approach to make a major impact, and giving customers more meat-free meal choices will improve health, reduce the impact of global warming, and help animals," Pacelle said.

Compass-operated dining operations now showcase meatless foods like veggie burgers, burritos, pastas, and stir fries. Many choices feature vegetarian meat alternatives.

"Compass Group is committed to providing healthy meals and building sustainable communities, and our new flexitarian initiative is a great step toward achieving both of these goals," stated Cheryl Queen, Compass Group vice president of corporate communications. "We're delighted to have this opportunity to highlight the culinary versatility of meat-free foods that promote better health and preserve the environment."

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization reported that animal agriculture contributes 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions—more than all forms of transportation combined.

A Leader for Health and Animal Welfare

This isn't the first time Compass Group has acted to improve the lives of animals. In 2007, the company switched all its shell (whole) eggs to cage-free for its U.S. clients.

According to Deanne Brandstetter, VP Nutrition and Wellness, Compass Group, "Eating flexitarian can have a positive impact on your health."

"Vegetable sources of protein, especially legumes and grains, are packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and are good sources of more healthful unsaturated fats." she said. "They also have no cholesterol, are generally low in saturated fat and often are lower in calories than animal proteins."

Food for Thought


  • Meat-free foods are an important antidote to factory farms. These massive operations raise and kill more than nine billion farm animals in the U.S. each year and pollute our environment.
  • Replacing meat with healthy vegetarian foods helps prevent against obesity, heart disease, stroke, many cancers, diabetes, and other serious diseases.
  • By reducing our meat consumption by only ten percent, we can fight animal cruelty by sparing nearly one billion animals a lifetime of suffering each year.
  • Per the American Dietetic Association [PDF], "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."
  • Compass Group has shared their recipes for five-bean chili with butternut squash and holiday stuffed Gardein™ scallopini.

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