From fair-trade coffee to free-run eggs
Following a series of renovations and the implementation of a strict health and sustainability-focused contract, Concordia’s new food services provider, Aramark, has had a busy first year on campus.
“We began this relationship with some very ambitious targets regarding local and sustainable food procurement,” says Marie-Josée Allard, director of Hospitality Concordia.
“We’ve been working very closely with both Sustainability Services and Aramark to achieve those goals.”
Concordia has set required local and/or sustainable procurement percentages on all purchased food. For example, shell eggs must be free run and 70 per cent of non-processed pork must be raised in Quebec.
“As part of their contractual obligations, Aramark hired a full-time health, wellness and sustainability coordinator,” says Isabelle Mailhot-Leduc, sustainable food system coordinator for Environmental Health and Safety.
“Together we work closely to ensure we are meeting our targets and plan strategies to go above and beyond.”
These initiatives have not gone unnoticed. Successes in 2016 include a Marine Stewardship Council Chain of Custody certificationfor sustainably fished seafood and the new designation as a Fair Trade Campus recognized by Fairtrade Canada, the Canadian Fair Trade Network and the Association québécoise du commerce équitable.
In 2017, Concordia’s Food Services and Aramark are aiming to achieve more, joining other Quebec public institutions in a pilot project called Aliments du Québec au menu. The project will require that several meals include a minimum of 50 per cent local products from Quebec and labelled clearly as such.
Throughout his first year on campus, Aramark general manager Matthew Chang has hosted numerous events and participated in monthly meetings with various university stakeholders — allowing him the opportunity to get to know the community.
“It’s been a great opportunity to understand what Concordia wants from us as a food service provider.”
Together, Food Services and Aramark have reviewed their offer to include more affordable meal options and developed a catering menu in response to the community’s healthy choice and budget expectations. Additionally, Aramark introduced the Get the Good Stuff program, which makes healthier food choices easier to spot.
With all their efforts toward meeting Concordia’s standards for local and sustainable purchasing and practices, Chang says Aramark has started to draw attention from other food service accounts.
“Over the past year, we’ve had several visitors including Carleton University, the University of Toronto, Dalhousie University and even the University of Bristol.”
According to Chang, they all left impressed by Concordia’s ongoing initiatives.
VIDEO: Concordia's No. 1 student meal
Concordia's executive chef Daniel Poulin shares his favourite student-friendly recipe.
The delicious end result is a healthy, balanced meal featuring low-sodium soya sauce, maple syrup as a natural sweetener and a colourful medley of vegetables packed with minerals, vitamins and fibre.
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