Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Encourages Chefs to Drop 100 Calories from Dishes
As part of the global Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever Food Solutions is confronting the issues of sustainability, food waste, and food safety, giving the foodservice industry actionable involvement in creating solutions.
The goals of the program include healither eating, making 200 million meals daily healthier, tastier, and more enjoyable by 2020; sustainable sourcing by 2020, 100 percent of agricultural raw materials will be sourced sustainably; and waste reduction, helping chefs run more efficient kitchens and reduce waste.
“Our food industry in North America feeds millions of people daily,” says Simon Marshall, president of Unilever Food Solutions North America. “With scale comes responsibility. Tackling big sustainability issues has to be a priority for the food service industry in North America, not because we say so, or because it’s a nice thing to do, but because it’s the only way we can continue to grow as an industry.”
The Seductive Nutrition program aims to help chefs satisfy guest demand for healthier choices and reduce calories on menus while still creating craveable, interesting dishes.
In 2012, 5,000 operators joined the Seductive Nutrition Challenge, signing a pledge to reduce a popular dish by 100 calories.
As part of the Seductive Nutrition Challenge, Keith R. Esbin, corporate executive chef of Bar Harbor Seafood and Boston Lobster Feast in Orlando, Florida, substituted Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in one of his dishes. In doing so, he reduced calories, as well as the amount of fat and saturated fat, creating a healthier alternative New England Lobster Roll.
“This is a great challenge to get involved in. Even having the ability to make one dish healthier will get you excited,” Esbin says.
That excitement translated to changes in Esbin’s own health habits; in the time since joining Seductive Nutrition, he’s lost 30 pounds. Participating in the program also affected the way he looked at other dishes on the menu.
“I want to be a part of the Seductive Nutrition movement, so I did go back over every one of my dishes to see if I could swap out some healthier ingredients or create new dishes that were known to be fresher and lower in calories,” he says.
Unilever Food Solutions asks operators and chefs to take the Seductive Nutrition pledge to remove 100 calories from a top dish. With each pledge through December 31, 2013, Unilever Food Solutions will help provide eight meals to Feeding America up to 50,000 meals.
UFS reaches 2 million outlets worldwide, and UFS products are part of 100 million meals served every day. Small individual changes over such a large scale can be good for chefs, business, customers and ultimately the Earth.