In 2012, The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—Department of Nutrition together launched an ongoing initiative called Menus of Change: The Business of Healthy, Sustainable, Delicious Food Choices. The campaign aims to accelerate transformation within the foodservice industry by aligning leadership in nutrition and public health, environment and sustainability, culinary arts, and business innovation. By hosting an annual leadership summit, producing an annual report entitled “Charting the Future of Food & the Foodservice Industry,” and delivering year-round digital resources, Menus of Change has established itself as a thought leader, provided tools and guidance for culinary professionals, and actively engaged the foodservice industry. Each year, the annual report and leadership summit are developed in collaboration with leading scientists and business experts, who sit on the initiative's Scientific and Technical Advisory Council and Sustainable Business Leadership Council, to ensure the program and report content reflects the most current and accurate evidence available. Menus of Change promotes 24 Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus, and tracks progress in the foodservice industry through an annual scorecard of 15 issues, the Menus of Change Dashboard. Principles include, for example: “Globally Inspired, Largely Plant-Based Cooking;” “Designing Operations for the Future;” and “Cut the Salt.” Dashboard issues include, for example: “Portion Size and Caloric Intake;” “Fish, Seafood, and Oceans;” and “Supply Chain Resiliency and Transparency.” We encourage you to read the full lists and learn more at www.menusofchange.org.
Founded and jointly led by Stanford University and The Culinary Institute of America, the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC) is a network of 115 members representing 41 institutions: 24 member colleges and universities, 12 colleges and universities represented by academic faculty, and three ex officio organizations. Members include university-based faculty and staff as well as leaders from campus dining operations. The Collaborative consists of a diverse mix of perspectives as far as geographic location, size and type of institution (both private and public), fields of study, and types of dining operations.
The purpose of MCURC is to create a culture of sharing and innovation within and among colleges and universities using the Menus of Change principles in their campus dining operations, and to develop a research agenda related to those principles. MCURC aims to impact the university and college food system by forming a synergistic network of university-based scholars, administrators, foodservice business leaders, and executive chefs to explore critical food issues within university settings, as well as to share these research findings with colleagues. The interdisciplinary strengths of the collaborative address the critical roles that culinary arts, menu design, ingredient sources, and restaurant layout can play in fostering these changes.