Suppliers > Food and Beverage

Selling local, organic, and environmentally preferable food and merchandise options at games can have significant benefits to the health of your students, fans and the environment. Consider consulting with your sports departments’ and institution’s current concessions suppliers and vendors to determine the availability of more ecologically preferable ingredients and materials.

If your institution has an environmentally preferable food purchasing policy in place, investigate ways to better integrate the goals, strategies and recommendations of that guiding document into your sports facility concessions offerings. Meet with the staff overseeing the implementation of the campus-wide food purchasing policy–such as dining services, campus procurement, sustainability office–to discuss opportunities to meet or exceed the school’s food procurement goals in all sports facilities.

It’s also crucial for your athletics department to collaborate with your concessionaire (if you have one), any other outside concessions vendors, your beverage sponsor or other related sponsors, and any other on or off campus partners involved in food and beverage service at your sports venues.

You may also want to consider including environmentally preferable food specifications in future contracts and requests for proposal with concession vendors, delivery services, or other food suppliers for events held in your sports facilities. See the Serviceware section of this guide for suggested specifications for food and beverage serviceware.

ENVIRONMENTALLY INTELLIGENT FOOD SPECIFICATIONS

  • USDA “Organic” products;
  • Meat, poultry, and dairy products raised and processed without hormones and non-therapeutic use of antibiotics;
  • Vegetarian options;
  • Locally grown food;
  • Seafood products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or Monterey Bay Aquarium;
  • Free range and/or pasture-fed meat and poultry;
  • Food products delivered in minimal, reusable, recyclable, or bio-based/compostable packaging (see Serviceware section of this guide for more information);
  • Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance certified beverages;
  • Wine bottles sealed with natural cork instead of more polluting closures like plastic stoppers or metal screw-caps; and/or
  • Zero trans fat, low-sugar, low-fat healthier options.

To locate nearby markets and other local food sources, search the Local Food Guide Database. The Organic Consumers Association’s business directory is another source of information about where to buy local and organic food.

See the Composting and Food Donation sections of this guide for information about reducing and recycling food waste.

SAMPLE LETTER TO SUPPLIERS AND FOOD AND BEVERAGE CONCESSIONAIRES

Dear _______,

[Our department/institution] has initiated a policy to improve our environmental performance in all aspects of our operations. We would like to meet with you to discuss buying ecologically superior food products in more detail. We would also like to discuss ways to cost-effectively switch to less packaging, recyclable or reusable packaging within the next few years.

We would like to reduce as much as possible the harmful effects on the environment and public health that are associated with our sports operations, and we would like to speak with you about healthier and environmentally preferable alternatives to the food products and food packaging that we are currently using.

Please call me at your earliest convenience so that we can organize a meeting to pursue this discussion.

SAMPLE CONTRACT LANGUAGE

[Our department/institution] has adopted an environmental policy to improve its environmental performance. To further these goals, food-related products and services contracted for by the department/institution will be evaluated in part on their health and environmental attributes. Specific factors to be considered include:

  • USDA “Organic” products;
  • Meat, poultry, and dairy products raised and processed without hormones and without non-therapeutic use of antibiotics;
  • Vegetarian options;
  • Locally grown food;
  • Seafood products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or Monterey Bay Aquarium;
  • Free range and/or pasture-fed meat and poultry;
  • Food products delivered in minimal, reusable, recyclable, or bio-based/compostable packaging;
  • Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance certified beverages;
  • Wine bottles sealed with natural cork instead of more polluting closures like plastic stoppers or metal screw-caps; and/or
  • Zero trans fat, low-sugar, low-fat healthier options.

Please address these concerns when submitting your proposals.

*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*

Evaluating the food and beverage purchasing at your sports offices could help your institution earn points within the “Dining Services” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). It might contribute to earning up to 4 points for the credit “OP 6: Food and Beverage Purchasing” and 3 points for the credit “OP7: Low Impact Dining.” Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

The food we eat has diverse impacts on human health and the environment. Agriculture is one of the leading sources of water pollution in the world, causing pesticides, sediment, and fertilizer to run into rivers and streams, and the transportation of food contributes to global warming and other forms of air pollution. Food packaging uses considerable amounts of paper and plastic, and discarded food fills up landfills and contributes to the release of methane gas into the atmosphere.

The good news is that even small changes in what we buy and eat can add up to real environmental benefits, including fewer toxic chemicals, reduced global warming emissions, and preservation of our ocean resources. Eating “green” can also mean eating fresher, healthier foods while reducing purchasing costs and supporting local farmers and your community.

COLLEGIATE SUSTAINABLE FOOD PURCHASING EXAMPLES

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

NRDC: Eat Local
NRDC: Eat Green
NRDC: Smarter Living – Food
NRDC: Wasted: How America Is Losing Up To 40 Percent Of Its Food From Farm To Fork To Landfill
NRDC: Saving Antibiotics & Positions of Medical Organizations
AASHE: Guide to Developing a Sustainable Food Purchasing Policy
AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)
AASHE STARS 2.0 Technical Manual
Yale Sustainable Food Purchasing Guide
Detailed checklist of USDA Organic attributes
USDA Organic homepage
Sustainable Farming Practices
EPA – Pesticide Product Information System
100% Cork
Fair Trade Certified