Sustainable Sourcing—Good For People and The Planet

Whenever possible, we buy our food and other products from ethical and sustainable sources.

Today’s consumer is more aware and interested than ever in issues that affect them, their communities and our world.

Sourcing products responsibly -- in a way that minimizes impacts to people, animals and the environment -- has a direct affect on our local and global economies, our health and wellness, and the environment. We work closely with our suppliers and our clients to provide options to meet a variety of sustainability objectives.

We buy locally sourced fruits and vegetables, humanely-raised meats and sustainably caught seafood. And our efforts extend to products like fair-trade certified coffee, and reusable, recyclable and compostable plates, cups, cutlery and paper products. Working with our suppliers, we’ve taken important steps on responsible sourcing:

  • Locally Sourced - We are committed to purchasing local produce, grown within 250 miles of our locations.
  • Humanely Raised - With policies for purchasing cage-free eggs, group-housed pork and other foods, we address animal welfare concerns.
  • Sustainable Seafood - We are committed to meeting our goal to source 100% sustainable seafood.

Innovative local sourcing

Innovative local sourcing

We work with local communities to source fresh products.

Our work with the University of Minnesota 

According to the World Wildlife Fund, in the next 40 years, increased demand for food will put pressure on agricultural, aquaculture and fishing resources that are already strained.

At Aramark, we recognize the increasing pressure on our food systems due to global issues such as resource scarcity, volatile commodity markets, and labor inequalities. We have an opportunity to address myriad environmental, social and economic issues while reducing risk and driving innovation.

Our University of Minnesota Dining Services team is a great example of how we address these issues in an innovative way. The team works with multiple hyper-local suppliers that are part of the University of Minnesota community:

  • Cornercopia Student Organic Farm - University of Minnesota Dining Services has a growing relationship with Cornercopia Student Organic Farm. Cornercopia is a 5.34 acre organic farm located on the St. Paul Campus and is currently the only certified organic land on the University of Minnesota campus. Each year students grow over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables. 

  • Andrew Boss Meat & Dairy Lab - In addition to local farmers and suppliers, University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases cheese and meat from the University of Minnesota Andrew Boss Meat and Dairy Lab Salesroom. The Andrew Boss meat and dairy products are produced in a Minnesota-state certified dairy plant and meat lab by students, staff and faculty. 

  • University of Minnesota Bee Lab - Located on the St Paul Campus, the U of MN Bee Lab focuses on research with the goal of promoting pollinator health. The Bee Squad tends to several apiaries on campus from which honey is bottled and purchased by University of Minnesota Dining Services for use within our on campus catering and residential special events. Annually University of Minnesota Dining Services purchases on average seventy-five pounds of honey.

  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum - The Arboretum's roots reach back to 1908, when its Horticultural Research Center (HRC) began developing apple varieties that could survive in the state's subzero temperatures. The HRC has grown over the past century to become the center of fruit research for the upper Midwest, generating more than 90 plant introductions. 

Humanely Raised Products

Humanely Raised Products

Our focus on responsible sourcing includes our commitment to responsible practices in raising farm animals.

Through our Animal Welfare Principles and Policy we’re impacting the treatment of animals for egg, meat and dairy products in the U.S.

Through engagement with suppliers, academia and NGOs such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), Global Animal Partnership (GAP) and many others, our industry-leading policy continues to expand on commitments we’ve made over the last several years to:

  • Purchase humanely-raised broiler chickens by 2024
  • Purchase only cage-free eggs by 2020 in the U.S. and globally by 2025
  • Purchase group-housed pork by 2022
  • Eliminate the purchase of all foie gras (since 2011) 

We have high expectations for our suppliers. We’re working with them to address issues such as painful procedures, rapid growth and other practices and we work only with suppliers that show progress in animal welfare practices. In fact, we ask them for progress reports and require third-party documentation of their efforts.

To view our recent Animal Welfare Progress Report, click here.  

Sustainable Seafood

Sustainable Seafood

We work with our suppliers to find and purchase sustainably sourced products.

Seafood is one of the most popular proteins in the world and yet, according to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization[1], 90 percent of the world’s ocean fisheries are at risk - threatened by fishing practices that stress the environment and marine life, and in some instances affect human rights. As the demand for seafood increases, fish farming has grown too, but it also has impacts.

We strive to buy seafood from sources, whether fished or farmed, that can sustain production without negatively affecting ecosystems and seafood workers. We’re on a journey to keep improving, a journey that includes not only responsible practices, but also innovative seafood menus, and information and education for our employees, clients and customers.  

Through our Sustainable Seafood Principle and Policy:

  • As of October 2014, all of our contracted frozen fin fish purchases in the U.S. meet Seafood Watch “Best Choice” and “Good Alternative” recommendations. 
  • As of April 2016, all of our contracted canned skipjack and albacore tuna in the U.S. is sustainably sourced. Skipjack is from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Albacore is pole and line caught or, when available, from MSC certified fisheries. 
  • Sustainable seafood programs are also underway  in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. 


Every day, our many efforts support our employees, clients and the world around us.


View All News


View All Resources