The Humane Society of the United States has released its annual Protein Sustainability Scorecard, which assesses the efforts of top U.S. food service companies to reduce their impact on the environment and animals through purchasing and menuing practices. The companies included in this report are responsible for the dining operations at tens of thousands of schools, colleges, corporate headquarters, stadiums and public venues.

“All companies should be transparent about their sustainability targets, goals and progress. Customers deserve to know which companies are following through and which companies are falling short of their commitments,” said Kate Watts, director of Food Service Innovation at the Humane Society of the United States. “The HSUS Protein Sustainability Scorecard was created to provide the public and customers with a hard look at what companies are actually doing to keep their promises.”

The HSUS surveyed the top 50 food service companies in the country, gathering information about their sustainability goals and the steps they are taking to implement and meet those commitments. Focusing on three main areas—transparency, goals and a plan of action—the scorecard aims to provide valuable information and promote accountability in the food service industry.

The scorecard’s findings reveal that while some food service companies boast impressive sustainability goals, they don’t appear to have achieved anything beyond the language of their commitments. The survey looks at the companies’ concrete, evidence-based strategies to effectively reduce their environmental footprint from food emissions. Those companies receiving the highest grades on the scorecard are actively increasing their plant-based offerings and/or decreasing their overall animal protein purchases.

A handful of companies minimize the seriousness of this issue, and do not prioritize it at all.

The top 50 food service management companies that earned “A” grades on this year's scorecard include:

  • Guckenheimer (55% of all offerings will be plant-based by 2025 with a complementary goal to reduce animal protein purchases annually by the end of 2027).
  • Metz Culinary Management (50% plant-based meals by 2025 with a complementary goal to reduce animal protein purchases annually through 2027).
  • Sodexo USA (33% plant-based menus by 2025; 50% plant-based menus on Sodexo’s U.S. Campus segment by 2025; and 50% plant-based menus at Sodexo's The Good Eating Company by 2025 while additionally tracking animal protein purchase reductions annually).
  • HHS, LLC. (50% of all retail menu menus will be plant-based by 2025 and a goal to reduce animal protein purchases by 25% by 2027).
  • Fresh Ideas (50% of its menu entrees will be plant-based by 2025, with a complementary goal to also reduce animal protein purchases annually through 2025).
  • Elior North America (50% plant-based entrees in new food programs and promotion developments by the end of 2025; 30% plant-based entrees by 2025 for the residential dining menus in its higher education segment; 30% plant-based entrees by 2025 for retail dining menus in its healthcare segment; and 30% plant-based entrees by 2025 in its professional dining segment).

Karla Dumas, a registered dietitian nutritionist and vice president of Farm Animal Protection at the HSUS, underscored the importance of the scorecard in assessing food service companies’ sustainability efforts. “This scorecard shines a spotlight on the companies that are committed to real change and those that do not or choose to operate without transparency. Coming from the industry myself, if I were hiring a food service caterer, I would be paying attention to this list.”

Greenhouse gas emissions from the global food system accounts for 20% to 37% of all emissions. Compared to plant-based foods, meat and dairy have larger environmental footprints, requiring more resources and generating more pollution. Shifting to plant-based foods helps companies reduce their carbon footprint, prevent deforestation and improve food security. Scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the benefits of replacing animal products with plant-based alternatives for greater greenhouse gas savings.

Read the full 2024 scorecard report.

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