Foodies of the Future

Olivia Petrus
The Latis digital platform assessing the impact of different foods
The Latis digital platform assessing the impact of different foods, courtesy of HowGood

Beyond trendsetting and coining terms like cheugy and drip, GenZ is arguably the generation that is most focused on conscious eating. At least that’s what Chartwells and HowGood found after gathering data from more than 300 colleges and universities. That’s gas.

Background: In May 2022, Chartwells Higher Education joined forces with sustainability intelligence company HowGood to study the overall sustainability of its menu based on various environmental and social impact criteria.

  • The sustainability of different items was measured across eight impact metrics, including greenhouse gas emissions, food processing, water use, soil health, land use, working conditions, biodiversity, and animal welfare.

In the first year, the study found positive links between climate labels on menus and sustainable choices.

Food for thought: After adding climate labels to their campus dining hall menus, students were more interested in low-impact recipes. This led to schools increasing their production of recipes that had favorable impact ratings by 44 percent.

  • This supports other research suggesting that as consumer knowledge of climate issues has increased, lower carbon footprint items sell more.

Cooking up sustainability: Chartwells’ culinary team used HowGood’s digital platform Latis to improve recipes based on their potential to reduce emissions. The platform provides insights into the environmental impact of over 33,000 ingredients across all impact metrics.

  • The data helps campuses advance their sustainability goals by promoting more sustainable meal choices and helping students make informed decisions.

Zoom out: Sustainability assessments are becoming more common and menus are no exception. Improving the impact of menu items should be possible without sacrificing nutrition, taste, and cost.

Just check out your local Chipotle for a build-your-own burrito if you don’t believe us.