Sustainability

How LinkedIn’s cafeteria drives diners toward plant-forward eating

The San Francisco-based company partnered with Greener by Default to cut its carbon footprint by encouraging more sustainable food choices.
Napa Cabbage Okonomi, a savory Japanese pancake, includes tofu, regenerative organic eggs, potato, taro, lotus and seaweed./Photo courtesy of Sodexo.

Good Eating Company, a brand under the Sodexo umbrella, forged a partnership between Greener by Default and LinkedIn with the goal of maximizing plant-based eating.

Greener by Default uses “choice architecture” to drive diners toward more sustainable options. If a LinkedIn employee orders a latte, for example, it’s automatically made with a plant-based milk. The program was piloted at LinkedIn’s San Francisco corporate cafeteria from February through April 2022.

During the first phase, the foodservice team gradually introduced more vegetarian entrees, reducing the frequency of beef- and lamb-centric dishes. During Phase 2, which began in March, the menu transitioned to a one-to-one ratio of meat to vegetarian entrees and introduced oat milk as the default.

Latte with oat milk

Oat milk is the default when a San Francisco LinkedIn employee orders a latte. /Photo courtesy of Sodexo.

When full implementation went into effect during Phase 3 in April, the majority of items served in the cafeteria were plant-based and plant-forward, with oat milk continuing as the default.

Chef Alicia Jenish-McCarron, the culinary director of Good Eating Company at LinkedIn San Francisco, created an array of dishes with ingredients sourced from local producers. Highlights included Regen Broccoli Salad with Filigreen farm fuji apples, Dijon vinaigrette and ricotta salata and Kibo Farm Napa Cabbage Okonomi made with hodo soy tofu, Sierra Orchards regenerative organic eggs, potato, taro, lotus and Strong Arm Farm seaweed. 

broccoli salad

Regen Broccoli Salad with apples and ricotta salata was one of the plant-forward choices. /Photo courtesy of Sodexo.

“The pilot was extremely successful,” said a Sodexo spokesperson in a statement. “The amount of meat served and the resulting carbon emissions were cut in half, while diner satisfaction remained constant.”

The Greener by Default program is currently being piloted at other LinkedIn offices in the U.S.

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