More Vegan Options Are Coming to Canadian Universities

More plant-based options are coming to Canadian universities and business cafes, thanks to leading foodservice company Sodexo and animal rights nonprofit Humane Society International (HSI).

In November, Sodexo Canada and HSI will host a virtual plant-based culinary training session for 12 of the foodservice company’s higher education accounts. Chefs will learn how to cook plant-based recipes, as well as how to introduce new ingredients into university cafe menus. Each account has committed to increasing its vegan options as part of HSI’s Forward Food Pledge.

“Understanding the impacts of our services on the environment, communities we serve, wellness we provide and people we employ is on the forefront for Sodexo Canada’s sustainable living initiatives,” Davide Del Brocco, sustainability manager at Sodexo Canada, said in a statement.

Reducing Carbon Emissions Through Food

The partnership with HSI aims to help Sodexo reduce its carbon emissions by providing training and engagement, data analysis, and responsible sourcing strategies. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture.

As for meals, the Forward Food program recipes include portobello poutine, avocado toast with roasted chickpeas, tofu bánh mì, broccoli rice casserole, and carrot osso bucco with polenta. The program includes baked goods, too. Chefs may learn to work with aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas that can be whipped up like egg whites. Sodexo wants to prioritize local ingredients, which will further help lower its carbon footprint.

The new program includes plant-based meals like this southwest breakfast skillet. | Kevin Johnson and Humane Society International Canada

HSI has hosted similar training sessions for universities, hospitals, and institutions in the US, UK, Brazil, and South Africa. HSI’s partners include top US foodservice companies, including Aramark and Compass Group.

HSI has also trained chefs at two prominent Canadian institutions: the University of Guelph and Queen’s University. Notably, the former has taken part in initiatives to further the advancement of plant-based food. Earlier this year, it announced an exclusive research collaboration with ingredient innovation company Motif FoodWorks to develop animal-free fats that could improve the taste and texture of plant-based meat and dairy products.

Although universities are the focus, a spokesperson for HSI told LIVEKINDLY that some of Sodexo’s business and energy and resource accounts are also interested in the program.