Help hungry brains make good decisions

Published on : 8/12/20
  • The pandemic opened up space in the schedules of many to exercise and focus on health, and it we experienced cleaner air and a revitalization of nature around us. The consciousness for the intersection of health and the environment is higher than ever before.

    Stepping inside someone’s mind at a restaurant goes beyond: “mmm, I’m hungry.”  It’s complex.

    • Should I eat the beef for the protein?
    • How does that impact my heart?  
    • I heard beef production was worse for the environment than chicken.
    • I’m tired of salads, what about this soup?  
    • How do I know the potatoes are even grown in my country?  
    • What about the working conditions?
    • Do they use pesticides?

    Even the most environmentally conscious people can struggle to sort, filter, and organize the abundance of information and statistics about how to make an impact.  Combine environmental consciousness with health consciousness, and it’s a recipe for overwhelming the consumer.  

    Fortunately, we live in a more aware and more conscious society where people are looking for ways to make a difference every day.  However, it needs to fit into their lives seamlessly, and adding more guilt to the plate does not improve the quality of life for anyone.  

    It's our job in food service to make these choices easier.  People have enough to worry about right now.

    The impacts of our individual choices add up quickly. So, when companies build environmentally conscious workplaces that encourage responsible choices, they’re leveraging the power of individual choices to grow their positive impact exponentially.  All you have to do is make it easy.

    For example:

    • Choosing locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables over imported ones supports local communities and limits carbon emissions.  
    • Opting for veggie dishes over beef burgers helps shrink greenhouse gas emission and conserve natural resources.
    • Our partner – the World Wildlife Federation has more tips here, but many of these ideas start with the food service provider.

    So what shapes individual food choices?

    CO2 Labeling: Knowledge is Power

    Awareness is a big part of what drives behaviour change. But, sometimes the “right” choices for the environment aren’t as obvious as you might think. At Sodexo, we wanted to find a way to take the guilt and complex decision-making out of dining, so guests can focus on feeding their hunger and move on.

    When looking to innovate, starting with the data is always a good idea.  We can use the data of a food’s environmental impact to tell the story in real-time. For example, if a pineapple travels thousands of miles from Ghana to your plate, it brings with it a large carbon footprint. According to West Africa Fair Fruit, for every kilo of pineapple, one kilo of CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

    It should not be the consumer’s responsibility to memorize a list of statistics for all of the ingredients they eat at home and at a restaurant. Sadly, they often have no other choice, unless we food service providers step up to the challenge.

    Building an eco-conscious organization begins on the ground level with your workforce. Calculating and sharing information about the environmental impact of food can give consumers that critical little reminder to make sustainable choices. This is a great value-add that also speaks volumes about your company, your brand, and your impact on the world.

    Klimato: new digital menus, facts at your fingertips

    At Sodexo, we wanted to find a way to take the guilt and complex decision-making out of dining, so guests can focus on feeding their hunger and move on.  To spur innovation, and improve the consumer experience, Sodexo identifies the latest technologies and sources of local innovations. Inspired by their solution, we teamed up with the Stockholm-based startup Klimato to test and deliver a CO2 labelling solution to clients and consumers.

    Thanks to Klimato, our chefs are able to input ingredient receipts into a web application which uses data to generate a quantitative carbon footprint and Klimato CO2 emissions labels for each menu item.



    Klimato CO2 labeling shapes behaviours on two levels:

    • It empowers chefs to build more sustainable menus and make greener meal recommendations;
    • It empowers consumers to make more sustainable choices and educate themselves about the carbon footprint of food more generally.



    Anton Unger, CEO and Co-Founder of Klimato joined Sodexo at VivaTech in 2019. “Klimato is a solution that makes it very easy for large companies to start working with data,” he explained. “It’s a web-based application that doesn’t require specific training, so it’s an easy way to use data to drive sustainable, behavioural changes.”

    From Sodexo Accelerator to Tangible Impact

    Sodexo Accelerators logoKlimato first came to Sodexo’s attention through its accelerator program, where it was singled out to take part in the Sparx Accelerator in 2018. From there, the solutions have been piloted at multiple Sodexo sites in the Nordics region where results have shown that this solution has helped us reduce the average per-meal carbon footprint by a full 25%!

    The Sodexo Accelerators enhance collaboration between Sodexo and local start-ups across the globe to combine Sodexo’s decades of industry knowledge and global footprint with the agility and creativity of startups.  The Accelerators program builds win-win partnerships, opening the doors to new opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs while identify leading-edge solutions that meet local needs while also scalable to impact our business globally.  

    Find out more about Sodexo Accelerators

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