Forward-looking foodservice executives and culinary professionals will convene at the second annual Menus of Change national leadership summit, which takes place in Cambridge, Massachusetts from June 9 to June 11.
"Change is in the air. Diners increasingly care and know more about their food choices while environmental challenges bring mounting unpredictability to the farms, ranches, and fisheries we rely upon," says Dr. Tim Ryan, president of The Culinary Institute of America, which co-presents the initiative with Harvard School of Public Health—Department of Nutrition. "Our industry's future looks to be a more complicated one in which to navigate. From antibiotic resistance and new diseases in the livestock industry to persistent droughts and still-stubbornly high rates of obesity, we may very well be witnessing something of a 'perfect storm' that will demand not merely small changes around the edges, but entire paradigm shifts over time."
The summit offers opportunities for business and culinary leaders to collaborate, as well as hear practical advice on key issues such as rethinking the role of proteins, fruits, and vegetables and developing menu strategies to address climate change.
Scientists and industry experts will provide insights and advice that integrate the latest scientific findings from the fields of nutrition, food systems, and environmental sustainability.
"This year, the scientific community reached significant agreement on the public health impacts of sodium and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, for example," says Walter Willett, MD, Dr.PH, chair of Harvard School of Public Health—Department of Nutrition. "While scientific research and debate about details of magnitude and timing continue in these and other areas, there is movement towards greater certainty. Menus of Change provides a valuable opportunity for foodservice industry leaders to understand that process better and recognize when it is time to change and not wait longer, as well as the practical business benefits of timely action."
"The culinary profession is no longer just that of a white toque, but also a white collar, where knowledge and decision-making create value," added Arlin Wasserman, chair of the Menus of Change Sustainable Business Leadership Council. "The foodservice industry is providing a greater share of our meals than ever before, both winning in the marketplace and also facing an increasingly complex and challenging set of choices. The Menus of Change initiative shares unique guidance on how to make better choices and run better businesses."
The second edition of the Menus of Change Annual Report will be released today at the summit. It includes a dashboard showing the past year's progress on a set of critical issues at the intersection of public health and nutrition, environmental sustainability, and business. The report also includes analyses of those issues and case studies featuring companies that have successfully combined sustainability and profit.