Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.21
Liaison Jeannie Matheison
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Idaho
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.88 / 2.00 Mike Thomsen
General Manager – Vandals Dining by Sodexo
Vandals Dining
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

The University of Idaho has awarded the primary dining services contract to Sodexo from 2007-2018. Within this report Sodexo is also referred to as Vandals Dining.

The Better Tomorrow Plan is Sodexo’s roadmap to a more sustainable future. It was developed in 2009 in conjunction with third-party experts such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Marine Stewardship Council to address areas in which our operations can affect the most positive change. Our publicly stated goals are reported annually and audited by a third party to assure transparency and accountability.

We target four key areas –
• Protecting and Restoring the Environment
• Developing Local Communities
• Improving Nutrition, Health, and Wellness
• Developing our People and Promoting Diversity


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
Yes

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

At the university's undergraduate dining hall, we incorporate seasonal vegetables from the Soil Stewards, a student-led club that operates an organic farm a 1/2 mile from UI’s main campus. Featured produce includes red onion, kohlrabi, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, and beets.

Vandal Brand Meats is the university's on-campus meat science laboratory. Vandal Brand Meats was originally established to provide Animal and Veterinary Science students with hands-on production experience. Vandals Dining proudly supports the student-driven Vandal Brand Meats with the purchase of sausages for football and basketball games as well as whole muscle meats. Vandal Meats profits are used to defray the cost of livestock, supplies, student labor, and facility maintenance.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, and/or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

Vandals Dining is proud to support the Local Inland Northwest Cooperative (LINC). All products are grown or raised by farm owners in the Spokane area. Purchases include purple potatoes, yellow lentils, peaches, apples, pluots, apricots, cabbage, and onions.

Vandals Dining also purchases flour from Shepherd’s Grain, a regional company that grows wholesome wheat in the Pacific Northwest, much of it locally, here on the Palouse. In addition to being local and family-oriented, Shepherd’s Grain farmers adopt sustainable agriculture practices such as direct seeding, no till, and pesticide reduction. Shepherd’s Grain flour is Food Alliance certified and can be found in our breads, pastries, pizza dough, and pancakes.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a vegan dining program that makes diverse, complete-protein vegan options available to every member of the campus community at every meal?:
Yes

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

Hot entrée options such as Beyond Meat Vegan Sausage and potatoes are available for breakfast in the university's undergraduate dining hall, The Hub. In addition, hot entrée options are available for lunch and dinners including Roasted Eggplant Moussaka made with coconut milk, Black Bean Taco Salad, Sesame Coated Tofu with Rice and much more. In addition, The Hub also features a dedicated vegetarian/vegan station which includes a selection of beans, seeds, seasonal produce and hummus. At Mein Bowl, a customizable Thai tofu rice or noodle bowl is available daily. Vegan options are identified with a branded icon.

In 2018, Vandals Dining was awarded a 'B' from Peta2, the largest youth animal rights group in the world, for “going above and beyond to provide all students with exceptional vegan food”.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
No

A brief description of the low impact dining events:
---

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:
---

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a sustainability-themed food outlet on-site, either independently or in partnership with a contractor or retailer?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
---

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labeling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:

We use the letters L (local), O (organic), VG (vegan), and V (vegetarian) within our dining locations to inform guests of the dietary and sustainable attributes of their choices. In addition, we communicate information about the local products we serve with promotional advertising.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

Sodexo is a member of the Better Buying Lab, a new initiative of the World Resources Institute (WRI) that brings together the food industry and some of the brightest minds from consumer research, behavioral economics and marketing strategy to test and scale new ways to help consumers buy products that have a lower environmental impact.

The first phase of work will identify key consumer and business barriers that prevent people from adopting more plant-based diets. These insights will then be shared with a range of stakeholders in order to scale successful strategies worldwide. Sodexo will support the Lab throughout this process and use the insights gained to enable more customers to choose sustainable-food options by working seamlessly in line with how people actually shop for their food.

In addition, our leadership is on the Menus of Change Sustainable Business Leadership Council. The Sustainable Business Leadership Council is a group of leading chefs, food and foodservice executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and social innovators working to inform, support, and confront issues that are surrounding the food industry today.

We also work directly with World Wildlife Fund, Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council to develop our sustainable seafood program.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have other sustainability-related initiatives (e.g. health and wellness initiatives, making culturally diverse options available)?:
Yes

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

As a 2014 winner of the Food Management Best Concept award, Mindful by Sodexo is all about providing choice – to consumers, clients and our own Sodexo staff. The choice to make healthier selections. The choice to learn about food. The choice to start living a healthier lifestyle. We believe that when people are presented with delicious healthy options and choose those foods on their own terms, they are more likely to enjoy them and realize the benefits that come along
with a healthier lifestyle – and consequently more likely to repeat those good choices everywhere they go. After all, a healthy lifestyle is not a single meal or act, but an ongoing series of steps. Some sample promotional items and featured Mindful recipes are included.

Mindful Means:
• Variety of choices
• More flavor
• Satisfying portions
• Healthy indulgence

In the Fall of 2018, 50% of our Resident Dining menu meets our Mindful criteria.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor participate in a competition or commitment program and/or use a food waste prevention system to track and improve its food management practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

Vandals Dining has used the LeanPath kitchen waste tracking system to minimize our food waste in the back of the house since August 2012.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented trayless dining (in which trays are removed from or not available in dining halls) and/or modified menus/portions to reduce post-consumer food waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:

Vandal’s Dining went trayless in September 2010 and reduced post-consumer food waste by approximately 60%. In addition, hot water and dishwashing chemicals were reduced by approximately 40%.

In addition, students can opt for half portions at any station within The Hub, or other options such as no buns for burgers/sandwiches.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
No

A brief description of the food donation program:

A food recovery program in partnership with Food Not Bombs, a student club, is in the development stage. We expect to have a food donation program up and running for Fall 2019.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses (e.g. converting cooking oil to fuel, on-site anaerobic digestion)?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

At The Hub, staff recycle used cooking oil through Ventura Foods’ PURE program. The cooking oil is converted into biofuel, reducing waste and our overall carbon footprint. We are in discussions with the University of Idaho Biodiesel program to have the used fryer oil processed on site and used to fuel campus vehicles.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

A waste characterization study conducted by the UI Sustainability Center in 2009 found that 68% of what we throw away on the UI-Moscow campus can be recycled (40%) or composted (28%). These findings drove the development of the Food and Farm Composting program in 2010. Pre-consumer food waste is captured in the kitchens at the undergraduate dining hall (75%) and the food court (25%).

At its peak 52 tons of pre- and post-consumer food waste was composted annually. In 2018, 6 tons of food waste was blended with livestock manure. The resulting compost is land-applied, as a soil amendment, on the fields surrounding the university dairy where a herd of milk cows graze. Composting diverts waste from a regional landfill 200 miles away and saves the university $36,000 annually.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

A waste characterization study conducted by the UI Sustainability Center in 2009 found that 68% of what we throw away on the UI-Moscow campus can be recycled (40%) or composted (28%). These findings drove the development of the Food and Farm Composting program in 2010. Post-consumer food waste is captured in the undergraduate dining hall and the food court. Volunteers from the Sustainability Center help teach dining patrons how to properly sort their waste into compost, recycling and landfill bins.

At it's peak 52 tons of pre- and post-consumer food waste was composted annually. In 2018, 6 tons of food waste was blended with livestock manure. The resulting compost is land applied, as a soil amendment, on the fields surrounding the university dairy where a herd of milk cows graze. Composting diverts waste from a regional landfill 200 miles away and saves the university $36,000 annually.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

At UI’s undergraduate dining hall, we provide reusable plates, bowls, cups, and flatware. We also offer reusable serve ware as a catering option.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor provide reusable and/or third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals (in conjunction with an on-site composting program)?:
Yes

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

Yes, Vandals Dining offers compostable to-go ware at every venue on campus. In the Idaho Commons, food scraps and compostable wares are collected for on-campus composting.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

Bring your own mug to any of our retail locations and receive $0.25 off espresso drinks. Drip coffee refills are $0.99.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented other materials management initiatives to minimize waste not covered above (e.g. working with vendors and other entities to reduce waste from food packaging)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

1. The APEX dishwashing system uses 95% less packaging material than prior cleaning methods.

2. The Sustainability Center inventoried disposable, single-use, serve ware and packaging which can be replaced with durable, reusable, recyclable, or compostable alternatives. Consequently, styrofoam and plastic bags have been eliminated, bulk condiments have replaced single-use packets, compostable Pepsi cups have replaced disposables, and various clam shells and food wrappers are compostable.

3. In catering, our standard practice is to offer towers of water, lemonade, iced tea, and other refreshments instead of bottled beverages.

4. Deliveries from the Soil Stewards, UI’s student-led produce farm, and Darigold are made in reusable crates.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

Mike Thomsen, Director of Operations, Vandals Dining/Sodexo
Alison Wright, Marketing Director, Vandals Dining/Sodexo
Composting: Jeannie Matheison, Director, Sustainability Center

Vandal Dining Webpage: https://vandalsdining.sodexomyway.com/planet/local.html
Sodexo’s Campus Better Tomorrow Webpage: http://www.tomorrowstarts2day.com/index.html
Sodexo’s Corporate Responsibility Webpage: http://www.sodexousa.com/home/corporate-responsibility.html
Mindful: https://www.mindful.sodexo.com/

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.