How the Humane Society Found Success With a For-Profit Partnership

For years, the food-service company Aramark has built a strong relationship with the Humane Society of the United States—a relationship that will take a new dimension this week.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) isn’t generally associated with the cafeterias of the world. But perhaps it should be: The organization has a long and strong relationship with Aramark, one of the largest food-service corporations in the country.

And now they’re taking that relationship to the next level. Aramark announced this week a new training program for its employees that will aim to increase the number of plant-based food offerings the company distributes to schools, hospitals, and businesses. HSUS will help develop the training.

The company is already collaborating with the American Heart Association on a campaign called Healthy for Life 20 By 20, which has a goal of increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on Aramark menus by 20 percent by 2020, while decreasing calories, total fat, and sodium in its meals by 20 percent.

Right now, Aramark says 30 percent of its main dishes in its healthcare, higher education, and business dining segments are vegetarian, and another 10 percent rely on whole grains as a main ingredient.

The company wants to increase those numbers, so it’s teaming up with HSUS to formulate a curriculum to teach its chefs how to build meal offerings that include less meat.

“As part of our broad and ongoing commitment to health, wellness, and sustainability, we continue to work toward offering more plant-forward menu options and alternate protein sources to Aramark guests,” Associate Vice President of Health and Wellness Dan Wainfan said in a news release. “We are proud to work on culinary training and menu innovations [that] provide important health benefits to consumers while minimizing our environmental impact.”

Not Their First Collaboration

Aramark has a long-standing relationship with HSUS. In 2015, the two organizations collaborated on an animal welfare policy under which the company pledged to purchase only cage-free eggs and stop using pork from animals bred in gestation crates.

And last year, Aramark and a competitor, Compass Group, announced they would make changes to their chicken supply chains to improve animal welfare. HSUS said at the time that the move was “their most impactful yet.”

In 2015, HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle noted that the relationship between the society and the company showed the long-term potential of corporate partnerships.

“The collaboration of Aramark and the HSUS may be one of the best examples to date of how a for-profit and nonprofit can work cohesively to build a more humane society,” Pacelle noted on his blog. “In contributing to a humane economy, Aramark is making animal welfare a core tenet of its business model.”

(Juanmonino/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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