Low Carbon Diet Day encourages eco-minded eaters to make meat
a more occasional treat
Palo Alto, CA (April 14 2011)- Consumers are getting savvier about how their food choices affect the planet. More are choosing locally grown or raised food and dabbling in occasional vegetarianism, a.k.a. “flexitarianism.” But “local” doesn’t automatically mean low carbon: even cattle grazing next door are still emitting methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. If we aim to lower the heat (in the atmosphere), making meat an occasional treat is one thing we can do to significantly reduce the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.
On Thursday, April 14, in the lead-up to Earth Day, socially responsible food service provider Bon Appétit Management Company will celebrate its fourth annual Low Carbon Diet Day. The chefs of the company’s 400-plus cafés will encourage patrons to think about ways to reduce their carbon “foodprint” with creative, flavorful dishes showcasing vegetables and grains; using beef and cheese sparingly, if at all; and avoiding air-freighted foods.
Low Carbon Diet Day is the event through which Bon Appétit chefs try to educate and inspire our guests, but actually every day is Low Carbon Diet Day at Bon Appétit cafes. Climate-friendly offerings have been a staple of our menus nationwide since 2007. Since launching the Low Carbon Diet, Bon Appétit Management Company has reduced its beef purchases by 33% — and through all of its efforts, cut the equivalent of 5 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per month.
“Whether you give up meat one day a week or are ‘vegan before 6,’ reducing your consumption of beef and cheese is a good thing to do for the planet — and your health,” said Ralph Loglisci, project director of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Healthy Monday Project. “Kudos to Bon Appétit Management Company for lowering their carbon ‘foodprint’ for four years now!”
Bon Appétit’s 5 Low Carbon Diet Tips give specifics easily applied to any diner’s daily food choices:
- Mooove Away From Beef and Cheese: Cows and other ruminant animals emit harmful methane gas during their natural digestive process. Tell beef burgers to hoof it and enjoy a turkey burger instead.
- You Bought It, You Eat It-Don’t Waste Food: Not only does wasted food represent wasted energy from growing, harvesting, and producing it, but food in landfills emits methane gas as it breaks down. Proper portions are key here. So don’t plate it if you’re not going to eat it.
- Make “Seasonal and Regional” Your Food Mantra: Regionally procured food usually tastes better because it’s fresher. Grab a bunch of local asparagus and see.
- Stop Flying Fish and Fruit -Don’t Buy Air-Freighted Food: Seafood that was frozen-at-sea and locally grown fruit are best choices.
- If It’s Processed and Packaged, Skip It: Processing and packaging consume huge amounts of energy and water. Eliminate processed snacks in favor of fruits, nuts, and homemade popcorn.
Customers who want to learn more can visit Bon Appétit’s online Low Carbon Diet Calculator http://www.eatlowcarbon.org. The science-based tool is a fun, interactive illustration of the carbon impact of specific foods.
On Low Carbon Diet Day, Bon Appétit will launch a month-long contest inviting its customers nationwide to show that they care about the carbon impact of their food choices. All they have to do is select a low-carbon item at any of our company’s cafés, take a picture of their plate, upload the photo, and explain why it’s climate-friendly. Participants who correctly identify low-carbon lunches will be entered into a random drawing for the chance to win private cooking lessons from our chefs, special dinners for eight, or a $400 gift certificate to a local farm-to-fork-friendly restaurant, depending on their location.
About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Company (www.bamco.com) is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Bon Appétit has more than 400 cafés in 31 states, including eBay, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Getty Center, and is committed to sourcing sustainable, local foods for all cafés throughout the country. A pioneer in environmentally-sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs, the connection between food and climate change, and, most recently, farm worker welfare. The company has received numerous awards for its work from organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, The Humane Society of the United States, and Food Alliance.