Menus of Change Conference, June 2013

Food is a lens through which we see the world, and our vision is increasingly focused on not only our personal health, but also the health of our planet. Our food choices reflect our values and beliefs, and they also significantly impact the world around us. Food production has a larger impact on our planet than any other activity, affecting land, oceans, wildlife habitats, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions.

In the United States, more than half of consumer food dollars is spent on meals that culinary professionals create and prepare. (1) As public concern about the impact of our food choices grows, consumers are asking the foodservice industry and culinary professionals to make more informed choices about what they offer their customers. In turn, individuals in the food industry are now making critical choices about which ingredients to serve, and in what amounts.

  • Menu choices drive diner satisfaction and business success, public health and nutrition outcomes, and environmental impact.
  • Menu design ultimately shapes decisions about the type and amount of crops to plant, livestock to raise and fish and seafood to harvest.


The Menus of Change initiative, jointly housed in the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Nutrition, integrates the latest findings from both nutrition and environmental science into a single set of recommendations for the foodservice industry. This initiative provides guidance to help culinary professionals and foodservice companies make informed choices and become successful in the business of healthy, sustainable, delicious food.

The annual report aims to help integrate nutrition and public health, environmental stewardship and restoration, and social responsibility within the food service industry and beyond.

  • It includes a “GPS” to guide you through the key issues facing the foodservice community as well as recommendations for improving business performance.
  • It also shows the progress we have made over the past year and highlights where we need to make greater efforts.
  • For culinary professionals and menu design teams, there is a comprehensive set of principles to guide menu research and design.


The executive summary is available here.

The full report is on the Menus of Change website, and is also available here.


1) Changing Tastes, National Restaurant Association, Food Marketing Institute, 2012.

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