Tom Allen, Food Development Director, Schools & Universities, UK & Ireland

Tom Allen, Food Development Director, Schools & Universities, UK & Ireland

Tom tells us about Green and Lean, a sustainable meal originally introduced in schools in the UK and now being rolled out globally across Sodexo.

Food production and distribution, including growing crops and raising livestock, manufacturing fertilizer, and storing, transporting and refrigerating food and land use change, are responsible for between a fifth and a third of global emissions. This means Sodexo is smart to tackle the food on the plate as it will also help its efforts to achieve its goal of a 34% reduction in carbon emissions.

The Green & Lean range has strict criteria. Two thirds of the plate should be made up of vegetables, pulses and grains. Meat must be responsibly sourced and should make up no more than a third of the plate – a sensible premise when meat packs a weighty carbon punch. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are favoured as well as whole grains, sugar and salt are added sparingly, and waste is minimized.

And all of this must be achieved at no extra cost. Results from a pilot have been positive and Green & Lean has been credited with helping to drive a shift towards sustainable meals across food service.

The great thing is that Green & Lean meals are also healthier, thus helping to tackle another of society’s great challenges – the obesity epidemic.

Students and clients are embracing the ranges with gusto showing that it is possible to achieve that marvellous alchemy of marrying health, sustainability and customer satisfaction.


Green & Lean developed out of a collaboration between the corporate responsibility function at Sodexo UK & Ireland and WWF.

Now, four years on, we are integrating the learning from our work to date to inform our food development work globally. It’s been wonderful to see this move from a small pilot into something that is influencing the way we feed people across the world.

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