Creating successful, sustainable food ventures

What We Do

Sustainability

We refine programs and operations to integrate and achieve social and environmental returns, create collaborative platforms for innovation and problem solving, and identify and manage climate and social risk in key markets and supply chains.

 

Compass Group

Compass Group invited Changing Tastes to guide the development of a comprehensive new sustainability platform, built upon their existing commitments and supported by a well defined roadmap to realization by year 2020. The work was based on a throughout analysis of current consumer trends as well as a forecast  of what future eaters might expect of institutional food service.  We mapped this information against emerging sustainability issues on a variety of fronts: environmental, social, economic and human health.  These were adapted in a way that Compass can position their brand as a relevant solution in the realm of sustainable food service while meeting the needs of their day to day business mission. Under our direction, particular emphasis was given on actions to reduce the eco-footprint of their kitchens operations focused on CO2e, water and waste.  As part of the overall project, we guided the development of a set of metrics for year over year measurement of progress in support of well defined transparency goals. A number of key Compass Group stakeholders were invited to contribute to the project with Changing Tastes that included operations, culinary, human resources, purchasing and marketing.  The resulting Vision for 2020 represents a cohesive and shared commitment on the part of Compass towards a roadmap to a better future.

Culinary Institute of America

Changing Tastes was hired by the Culinary Institute of America in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health to develop the Menus of Change Initiative. This work included assembling a food service industry leadership council chaired by Arlin Wasserman and composed of food service operators, food industry executives, chefs, investors and food systems change agents, including those working to affect the public school food industry and leaders of school food service programs in some of America's largest cities. Changing Tastes also helped to form and lead an allied Science Council composed of researchers working on public health and nutrition, agriculture, food systems and business from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, UC Davis and other universities.

As a part of this project, Changing Tastes has developed a set of 19 integrated metrics for measuring yearover- year progress at the intersection of nutrition and health outcomes; environmental impact of food production and progress towards protecting diverse land use, species and biodiversity; improved labor and social conditions in food production; and change in financial performance and risk to food businesses. The first report and scorecard will be released in June 2013.

General Mills

General Mills brought on Changing Tastes immediately following its acquisition of Cascadian Farms and it’s decision to launch a “corporate sustainability program,” a then-novel step in the food industry back in 2003. We partnered with senior executives to develop the company’s initial strategy. This included conducting a “archeological” scan of existing brands and supply chains and identified existing agriculture and production practices that could be scaled across the entire company.

We worked to integrate the sustainability program into the company and its brands, identifying those practices that should be marketed to consumers to increase demand for sustainably produced and healthier foods, and those that should be mainly communicated to investors and other business partners. Following that scan, we developed a virtual training program and a series of management decision tools that provided more than 4,000 senior managers with decision making tools based in community development, climate change, water, and demographic trends along with principles of transparency and corporate responsibility.

As General Mills’ key clients embraced sustainability, we provided strategic advice for their engagement with Wal-Mart and its sustainable value chain working groups. Our advice to integrate environmental sustainability, including both manufacturing and agriculture, together with new product formulations that provided superior nutrition and health benefits led to more than $180M in incremental sales.