Aramark, a Philadelphia, Pa.-based player in food, facilities and uniforms, partnered with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Washington, D.C., to conduct a series of plant-based culinary trainings over the next six months as part of its ongoing efforts to develop strategies that increase plant-based food offerings for consumers. Currently, as part of its Healthy for Life 20 By 20 commitment with the American Heart Association (AHA), Zionsville, Ind., 30% of the main dishes Aramark serves across its dining operations in healthcare, higher education and business dining are vegan or vegetarian, and 10% feature whole grains as their main ingredient.

The goal of the new training partnership is to further enable the company's 1,000-plus chefs to create meals, menus and dining concepts that center on vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. The curriculum will be developed together with The HSUS and Aramark's culinary leadership, including culinary teams at accounts the company serves. Aramark will also engage with its external advisors, including health and wellness, environmental and animal welfare organizations, to track and report its progress on plant-based food offerings following these trainings.

"As part of our broad and ongoing commitment to health, wellness and sustainability, we continue to work toward offering more plant-forward menu options and alternate protein sources to Aramark guests," says Dan Wainfan, associate vice president, health and wellness for Aramark. "We are proud to work on culinary training and menu innovations, which provide important health benefits to consumers, while minimizing our environmental impact."

Aramark and the AHA teamed up in 2015 for a 5-year commitment to improve the health of Americans 20% by 2020. That goal will be achieved by reducing calories, saturated fat and sodium levels while increasing vegetables, whole grains and fruits across menus served in Aramark's workplaces, hospital cafes and college residential dining halls. The commitment also includes public health education to enable consumers to make healthy food choices.

"The American Heart Association is proud of what we've accomplished working with Aramark to help improve the health of Americans. Aramark’s continued increase in plant-based offerings aligns extremely well with AHA recommendations," according to the organization.