Low Carbon Diet Day

On Thursday, April 19, the Bon Appétit Management Company will hold its fifth annual Low Carbon Diet Day at the University of Redlands’ Irvine Commons dining hall. Low Carbon Diet Day is a program that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food service operations as well as educate Bon Appétit staff and University of Redlands students on how the food system contributes to climate change. Students will be served chicken instead of beef to reduce climate-changing gas emissions and regionally grown foods in order to reduce fossil fuel consumption in transporting the foods on Low Carbon Diet Day.

Surprisingly, the food system is responsible for one-third of global greenhouse emissions. “Most people are aware these days of what a healthy choice is for them,” said chef Marc Powers from the University of Redlands. “With Low Carbon Diet Day, we’re proud to show diners how their food choices can also be healthier for our planet.” In an effort to reduce food related greenhouse gas emissions, chefs will serve foods throughout Low Carbon Diet Day that will help to illustrate Bon Appétit’s “Top 5 Low Carbon Diet Tips”:

  1. 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 Grove City tofu daenjang chigae with green chile pancakes will be served in both full and half sized portions. 
  2. Make “Seasonal and Regional” Your Food Mantra: Regionally procured food is less likely to have been air-freighted to get to you, and usually tastes better because it’s fresher – taste pork albondigas with sofrito cubano house smoked chipotle chicken tamales and see! 
  3. Mooove Away From Beef and Cheese: Cows and other ruminant animals emit harmful methane gas during their natural digestive process, so we’ve told beef burgers to hoof it and will be grilling Glen Ivy herb marinated portabella and heirloom tomato burgers instead. 
  4. Stop Flying Fish and Fruit – Don’t Buy Air-Freighted Food: Seafood that was frozen-at-sea and locally procured fruit are best choices. Diners can enjoy blackened farm raised striped bass with freekeh green wheat and grilled tomatillo salad. 
  5. If it’s Processed and Packaged, Skip It: Processing and packaging consume huge amounts of energy and water. Chefs are eliminating processed snacks from one station, instead serving house made corn chips, spiced pita chips and foot vegetable chips.

Launched in 2007, Bon Appétit’s Low Carbon Diet program involves purchasing and operational changes with the purpose of decreasing its cafés’ carbon “foodprint”. Bon Appétit’s has reduced its use of beef by 33% and cheese by 10% and has dramatically reduced its food waste since the launch of this program. Looking forward, Bon Appétit has issued 23 separate energy and water conservation recommendations that are being implemented companywide. As a result of these changes, Bon Appétit has reduced its emissions by the equivalent of 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide per month.

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Patty Zurita

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