At RA, we see food as an agent to make a difference in the lives of our guests, the health of our planet and the well-being of our communities. We have a long-standing commitment to responsible sourcing, fair food and outreach. Read more about Compass Group's efforts here.
Our sustainability platform aligns with our core RA values and falls under two pillars: People and Planet.
Supporting the people who supply our food, we align purchasing wherever possible with suppliers that support human rights.
Prioritizing local ingredients, humanely raised animal products, and sustainable seafood wherever possible.
Reaching out to those near to us to create a more cohesive community and strengthening our bonds.
Infusing the power of plants into everything we make while reducing our consumption of animal products. Better for you and better for the environment.
Feeding those in need and providing support and supplies to organizations helping to fight food insecurity.
Committed to reducing food waste in our kitchens and beyond.
Learn more about our efforts below.
Waste-Reduction Practices to Minimize Environmental Impact
Organic matter, especially food scraps, is a major contributor to the formation of methane gas, a greenhouse gas in landfills that is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat close to the Earth's surface. RA and Compass Group have implemented a proprietary waste reduction program called Waste Not. It is a food waste-reduction program and green initiative that can noticeably cut operating costs, as well as reduce our carbon footprint in landfills.
We believe no food should go to waste and strive to limit this waste, as evidenced by the aforementioned programs. Unfortunately, sometimes it is inevitable that there will be edible food left over from a catered event or from our retail and resident dining locations. When food is left over, we prefer to feed people and keep edible food from going to landfills by partnering with local food recovery programs.
Farmer's Markets & Local Food
Restaurant Associates and our suppliers work with local farmers and produce distributors to provide guests with the freshest seasonal foods while also supporting our local communities in the café's menu selections. Items are identified as local if they are from sources that are no more than 150 miles from the location in which it is served. As a result, local food means fewer food miles and a dramatic reduction in transportation, days of refrigeration, and tons of pollution and packaging.
Imperfectly Delicious Produce
Imperfectly Delicious Produce (IDP) utilizes non "retail" Grade A fruits and vegetables that have slight cosmetic imperfections. This produce is typically left unharvested in the field or discarded, but it would be perfectly suitable for cooking. Cosmetically perfect produce is not essential for foodservice operations. Our chefs slice and dice the produce so flavor and quality are most important.
Through this program, we engage our distributors and farmers to identify opportunities to rescue product from going to waste. We focus on produce with inconsistent sizing, shape and color, but not damaged or bruised product. The IDP program allows our chefs to find a home for everything that is good and edible.
Menus of Change
The Menus of Change™ initiative (MOC) was formed in 2012 as a partnership with The Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health. Restaurant Associates' parent company, Compass Group, is honored to be a founding member and enjoys supporting this exciting and industry "changing" initiative. MOC is designed to help chefs navigate the growing convergence of wellness and sustainability consumer values and prepare them for a future of foodservice that will look different than it does today.
RA is extremely proud of our engagement in the Menus of Change™ initiative and our commitment to support key principles that will drive new culinary approaches for healthy, delicious and sustainable food at Compass. These principles focus on engineering our menus to create a more sustainable food supply, provide delicious, nutrient-dense meals for our guests and protect and improve the health of Healthy, Sustainable Menus, developed in partnership by the CIA and Harvard School of Public Health.
RA is committed to providing unique menus that emphasize less beef, more produce and whole grains as well as conscious menuing.
The world's stock of wild seafood is threatened with extinction due to overfishing and uncontrolled fishing. RA is committed to protecting the global fish supply. In collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program and Compass Group, we established a landmark purchasing policy in 2006 that removes unsustainable wild and farmed seafood from our menus.
Additionally, RA has been closely involved with Skuna Bay Salmon and offering it in our cafes, not only because of the quality of the seafood, but also its company efforts in sustainability. And while Skuna Bay has always been sustainable- including longtime commitments to a 4-star BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certification that includes 99% water and 1% fish- it was just announced that another third-party accreditation, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, updated their recommendations for farmed salmon. Farmed salmon coming from British Columbia (Skuna Bay) was given a "Good Alternative" rating.
Our coffee is fair-trade, which empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
Providing Fresh Yogurt and Milk That Is Free of Artificial Growth Hormones
RA serves only fresh fluid milk and fresh yogurt from cows that have been certified to be free of the artificial growth hormones rBGH/rBST. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (also known as Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin) is a biochemical injected into cows to increase their udders' size and milk production. rBGH is banned in most industrialized nations but has yet to be recognized by the FDA for its implication in causing cancer, abnormal growths/tumors and decreased effectiveness of antibiotics.
Global Animal Partnership
In 2016, Compass Group announced a historic partnership with the animal welfare certification program, Global Animal Partnership (GAP), designed to transform the welfare of chickens within its supply chain. With this announcement, Compass Group became the first foodservice company to commit to healthier, slower-growing strains of chickens, improved living conditions, and more humane slaughter across 100% of the business by 2024. The partnership will impact approximately 60 million broiler chickens per year.
Offering Certified Humane Cage-Free Eggs
We offer only Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) certified cage-free shell eggs nationwide. We have had a cage-free shell egg policy since 2007. All units are required to only offer shell eggs that are certified by the HFAC program in partnership with the Humane Society of America.
Purchasing Poultry Produced Without the Routine Use of Human Antibiotics
The nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal production is a growing public health concern because it decreases the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat diseases in humans. Therefore, we only serve chicken and turkey that has been raised with restricted use of these drugs, especially as a growth additive in feed. Our contracted suppliers are required to provide products that adhere to criteria developed in partnership with The Environmental Defense Fund.