Bay Area fast-casual pioneer, The Plant Café Organic, has undergone the Eat REAL Certified Audit and become the first in the nation to qualify for Platinum-level certification. This certification ushers in a new generation of REAL Certified restaurants and foodservice providers committed to making changes to their operations in order to raise the bar for foodservice operators nationwide.
“Since we opened our first restaurant twelve years ago, The Plant has been committed to 100 percent organic food sourced from loyal purveyors. Our sustainability and health mission has found a strong partner in Eat REAL,” says Matthew Guelke, cofounder and CEO of The Plant Café Organic. “We are proud to have met the high standards for Platinum-level certification and together with Eat REAL, we hope to encourage other restaurants to prioritize nutrition, ethical sourcing, and organic foods.”
This certification marks the rollout of Eat REAL’s updated certification standards, which incorporate, among other things, an increased focus on animal welfare, sustainable produce sourcing, and a tiered (Silver, Gold, and Platinum) system for scoring restaurants that go above and beyond to make changes to their operations.
In becoming Platinum certified, The Plant Café is leading the highest ranking REAL Certified establishments—the goal of which is to represent the top 1 percent of nutrition and sustainability best practices nationwide. On top of the REAL Certified audit standards, Platinum restaurants must also meet the following prerequisites:
- A minimum score of 90 percent on the REAL Certified audit.
- 100 percent of meat and poultry products are sourced from non-CAFO farms.
- 100 percent of seafood must be “green” according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Consumer Guide.
- At least 50 percent of oils used in food preparation are non-GMO.
- 100 percent of entrées contain at least one serving vegetables that is not juiced, deep-fried, or sweetened.
- None of the pre-packaged food items sold include ingredients from Eat REAL’s list of unacceptable ingredients.
“The Plant Café has never wavered in its commitment to serving delicious, healthy food. We are thrilled to see them earn the first ever Eat REAL Platinum Certified mark,” says Caesare Assad, COO of Eat REAL. “By providing transparency on their excellent sourcing and food preparation methods, they have effectively raised the bar for fast-casual dining in the Bay Area.”
In addition to scoring at the top of the audit, The Plant Café worked closely with a REAL Certified Registered Dietitian to make tangible changes to their operation to meet Platinum status. This includes changing its menu to include a full serving of vegetables in all children’s meals, offering whole grains as a free substitution on rice bowls, and adding cauliflower rice to its list of “grain” options. The Plant Café currently sources all turkey and chicken from farms certified by Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Step 3 or higher. Looking forward, the Plant Café will continue to further its positive impact on animal welfare. By 2021, The Plant Café will source 100 percent of its animal proteins from farms that achieve an animal welfare certification recognized by REAL Certified and the ASPCA Shop With Your Heart program. For broiler chickens in particular, The Plant Café will continue to support farms that meet or exceed the requirements of the GAP program as it develops higher standards by 2024 for broiler breeds and their living conditions, as well as more humane CAK processing.