Unidine tests green project at Greenbuild

Trial run prepares contractor to rollout initiative early next year.

NEWTON, Mass.—Project pilots are usually done on a small scale. But foodservice contractor Unidine Corp. recently used its role as exclusive catering and concessions provider for the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Boston to test a new environmental program it plans to roll out early next year.

During Greenbuild, Unidine served 25,000 attendees and speakers a wide variety of meals featuring organic and locally grown foods, incorporating sustainable and eco-friendly food preparation and disposal, and using packing, paper products, signage and cutlery made from natural, all biodegradable materials.

“This helped us with our new, comprehensive green product that we’ll launch in January,” says Vice President, Marketing Christopher A. Chronis. “It was a trial for pulling it all together.”

The new program will incorporate “all the bits and pieces” from the Greenbuild conference as well as practices already in place. The goal, Chronis says, is to eventually have the new effort be certified “green.”

The effort begins with sustainable food sourcing, including working with community-supported agriculture, serving grass-fed beef, free range and hormone and antibiotic-free poultry and rGBH-free milk, and using trans fat-free oils and baked goods.

Other elements include an eco-friendly disposables and packaging program, using paper supplies with the highest post-consumer recycled content available.

“We’ve focused for a long time on what goes into the kitchen,” says Chronis. “The next growing movement may be what comes out—waste management. We will expand our program for used kitchen oils, recycling them for use as bio-fuels for diesel vehicles and engines. The program includes separating food wastes for composting. We have separate bins for food waste, bottles, cans and biodegradable disposables. Uneaten food is donated to food pantries. By separating food waste, we can inventory excess food and implement source reduction practices to save money.”

At New Milford Hospital in Connecticut, Unidine is already working with local farmers, who will plant and grow specific vegetables for purchase next spring. A local cattle farm supplies ground beef and braising cuts from pasture-raised, grass-fed beef. The same farm provides an Omega 3-rich version of butter. Local cheese producers provide a fresh, quick-cured product that is an alternative to American cheese. Scratch baked goods are outsourced to the local community.

Clients are encouraged to purchase energy-efficient dish machines to maximize energy and water conservation. “We helped one client save 840 gallons of water a day and reduce the detergent need 30% to 40%. We also advocate for the purchase of additional food storage containers, which can result in a 60 percent reduction in the use of aluminum foil.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Billerica Memorial High School in Billerica, Mass., is turning to a little friendly competition to get students excited for lunch, Wicked Local Billerica reports.

Throughout the month, the school is hosting a sandwich competiton between its principal and vice principals. Each contestant created a sandwich to be added to the lunch menu for one week, from which a winner will be chosen.

The competition was proposed by Director of School Nutrition April Laskey, who said she was surprised by how responsive people were to the idea.

Read the full story via billerica....

Industry News & Opinion

Just over 100 foodservice workers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have voted to join a branch of the Service Employees International Union, KIMT reports.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota said that 89% of the ballots cast during last week’s election were in favor of unionizing.

The workers are employed by Sodexo, Mayo Clinic’s current foodservice vendor. The clinic recently announced plans to switch vendors to Morrison Healthcare Food Services, a move that has sparked backlash from workers and led to a lawsuit from the SEIU .

Read the full story via kimt.com .

Sponsored Content
pasta dish from NC State

From Barilla.

Good-for-you food doesn’t do much good if it’s a hard sell to get diners to eat it. Luckily, pasta is nearly always a crowd-pleaser, especially with student athletes who benefit from its nutritional boost.

“One thing about pasta is that students like it,” says Lisa Eberhart, a registered dietician and director of nutrition and wellness for North Carolina State University, where they serve Barilla pasta. “It’s also a great source of slow-burning carbohydrates.”

In fact, 57% of Gen Z consumers and 58% of millennials call pasta a “preferred food,”...

Industry News & Opinion

The Los Angeles Unified School District has lifted its ban on flavored milk in an effort to reduce food waste, the Los Angeles Times reports.

After implementing the ban in 2011, the district noticed that many students would simply throw away their unused milk containers, causing them to end up in landfills. In order to combat the problem, the district’s board is launching a four-part study in 21 schools that will examine different ways to encourage kids to drink more plain milk.

One of the theories proposed is that students will be more likely to drink plain milk if they...

FSD Resources