Flexitarian Lifestyle and Its Effect on our Planet


November is Flexitarian Month – what does that mean? To get a better sense of what ‘Flexitarian’ means – and why it is considered a more planet-friendly lifestyle – we spoke to our sustainability lead at Compass Group Canada, Jana Vodicka. Jana has spent 14 years leading sustainability programs at Compass Group Canada and other public and private sector organizations.

Flexitarian Lifestyle and Its Effect on our Planet

By Jana Vodicka

What is Flexitarian?

Let’s jump right in; the advantage of a flexitarian diet is it is not about absolutes, unlike vegan and vegetarian counterparts – it is a lifestyle that offers flexibility between protein choices (including both animal and plant-based), however favouring the plant-based protein options as both a health and planet conscience decision. The overall goal is to simply increase the amount of meals that are plant based and actively choosing to eat fewer animal products in everyday meals.

According to a recent report from the United Nations, “almost two thirds of food system emissions come from agriculture and land use…”. The message here is simple. As participants in our global community, we need to look for alternative food sources if we intend to have a real impact when it comes to meeting our recent Planet Promise commitment of Global Net Zero by 2050.

Given Compass Group is one of the largest food suppliers in the world, this puts us in a unique position to own that scale and have a real impact when it comes to issues like reducing carbon emissions directly related to animal agriculture and food waste.

This is not a new concept for us; we are constantly driving new and innovative solutions that support our planet health, a great example being our ongoing participation in the annual Stop Food Waste Day campaign, a digital initiative that shares tips and recipes on how we can reduce food waste at home.

The Choice for a Healthy Planet

As I mentioned, the effect of animal agriculture has been implicated by the United Nations as one of the top contributors to the global environmental problems. The land, water and fossil fuels required to farm and keep animals is significant, not to mention deforestation of property to make space for additional livestock.

With meat consumption across the globe rising, the supply of livestock must grow to keep up. The resulting consequence being an ongoing increase of the amount of carbon dioxide and methane emissions released into the atmosphere. Currently, meat production accounts for approximately 18% of human caused GHG’s, meaning our eating habits have a significant influence on climate change.

To address this issue, we have adopted a Plant-Forward approach to our menu selection. This is not a new philosophy, in fact, in 2012 – Compass was one of the founding members of Menus of Change, which focuses on putting plants at the centre of each plate and has been in practice by our Chefs since its inception.

When meal planning with a focus on plant-based proteins, we offer our guests an opportunity to participate in both a healthier diet choice, as well as reducing their intake of animal agriculture and therefore, harmful emissions.

Putting Flexitarian into Practice

As we look at climate-friendly menus, our goal is to approach the practice in simplified ways that can be easily replicated at home. I checked in with Executive Chef Tyler Hallam, who explains our philosophy to include more plants into meals.

“We’ve built this by focusing on 3 main principles: Flip, Blend and Swap.

  • Flip: the tradition portions of meat with vegetables, giving meat a smaller role on the plate
  • Blend: meat with vegetable for items like burgers, meatballs and meatloaf
  • Swap: traditional meat items for plant-based alternatives”

Of course, I must mention that in our business, this practice is brought to life by our truly talented Compass Group Canada chefs, who scour the world for inspiration when it comes to plant-based foods. They thrive within the opportunity to experiment with flavours and ingredients – creating delicious meals and many happen to be plant-based.

I Want to Follow a More Plant-Based Diet – Where Do I Start?

There are lots of simple ways to incorporate more veggies into your diet. For example, the simple act of swapping half your meatball recipe to include grated veggies like carrots and/or zucchini, is an easy way to move towards a flexitarian diet, without giving up family staples.

Another great way to explore a more flexitarian diet? Look outside your traditional meal selections. As Chef Tyler Hallam says “Taking inspiration from a variety of cultural cuisines is not only great for exploring new flavours and ideas, but it can also help to include more vegetables as there are many cultures that eat more plant-based foods as part of their traditional cuisine!”

Thanks for reading! I wish all of you luck on your flexitarian journey!

Jana Vodicka

Sustainability Lead, Compass Group Canada


Looking for more food waste and plant-based recipe tips? Follow us on Instagram @compassgroupcan where we regularly post new and interesting ways to support a plant-based diet and sustainable food choices!

Compass Group makes global commitment to reach Climate Net Zero by 2050

2030 emissions reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative
Group commits to be carbon neutral worldwide on Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030


Compass Group, the world’s largest food services group which operates in 45 countries, employs around 550,000 people and serves over 5.5 billion meals a year, has announced a commitment to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its global operations and value chain by 2050.

The Group’s Net Zero target makes Compass the first international company in the contract catering industry to announce a global commitment to a 2050 net zero emissions economy. It includes ambitious emissions reduction targets over the next decade which have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), and a further commitment to be carbon neutral worldwide in its own operations (Scope 1 & 2) by 2030.

Compass Group’s decarbonisation strategy will be delivered through collaboration, innovation, and investment across its global operations. Specific actions include:

  • Transition of all fleet vehicles globally to 100% plug-in electric
  • Switch to renewable electricity across all its own operations
  • Reformulate menus to be low carbon and switch towards more plant-based proteins
  • Increase sourcing from regenerative agriculture
  • Focus on packaging solutions to further reduce single-use plastic
  • 50% reduction in food waste across its operations globally by 2030
  • Increase share of seasonal and locally sourced produce
  • Invest in climate positive projects worldwide to support decarbonisation, compensation and neutralisation including reforestation, biodiversity, freshwater, land and ocean initiatives
  • Deliver a global deforestation-free and land conversion-free supply chain strategy


As well as driving significant reductions in its own operations, the Group will use its scale and global reach to influence and work collaboratively with clients, industry associates, governments and suppliers to reduce their direct GHG emissions, set their own Net Zero and Science Based Targets and help create a more sustainable global food system for all.

Today’s announcement follows the commitment made earlier this year by the Group’s UK & Ireland business to deliver Climate Net Zero across its operations by 2030. Compass intends to leverage the experience of early adopter countries such as the UK to share best practice across the Group and drive accelerated transformation towards its global Net Zero goal.

Dominic Blakemore, Group Chief Executive Officer of Compass Group PLC, said:

“The international food industry has a major role to play in reaching Climate Net Zero and driving the transition to a healthy and sustainable food system. Compass Group’s new global Climate Net Zero target reflects our teams’ commitment to sustainable sourcing, eliminating food waste and transforming our environmental impact.

“Given the complexity of the global food supply chain as it is today, we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead of us. Radical new collaborations are urgently needed across the entire value chain to make it a reality. As the world’s largest food services group, operating at the heart of the global food supply chain, we are in a unique position to influence real change, by working in partnership with our suppliers and encouraging sustainable consumption from the clients and consumers we serve every day.”

Diane Holdorf, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Managing Director, Food & Nature, added:

“We congratulate Compass Group for their ambitious and clear goals for Net Zero, and for their drive to lead and innovate to provide climate-positive solutions on a global scale.  

“Food systems are at the center of integrated solutions for nature, climate and equity. Leadership like this to achieve Net Zero across the entire food value chain is key to addressing the challenges these systems face. We look forward to continuing our collective work with Compass and supporting them in implementing innovative new solutions that sustain healthy people on a healthy planet.”

More details on the Group’s sustainability strategy and Net Zero priorities to 2030 and beyond can be found in its Global Roadmap to Net Zero. It is the Group’s intention to provide an update annually on its progress and Roadmap development within its global Sustainability Report, and the Group has committed to validating its 2050 Net Zero targets with the SBTi once its guidelines are finalised.



For more information, please contact

Compass Group Canada

Courtney Gardner.   647-633-5420


Notes to Editors

Compass Group PLC is the world’s leading food services company, which generated annual revenues of £20.2 billion in the year to 30 September 2020.  It operates in around 45 countries, employs and engages around 550,000 people and serves over 5.5 billion meals a year. The Company specialises in providing food and a range of support services across the core sectors of Business & Industry, Healthcare & Seniors, Education, Sports & Leisure and Defence, Offshore & Remote, with an established brand portfolio. 

Canadian companies – Compass Group + Copper Branch – launch national partnership to deliver network of new, 100% plant-based power food locations

Partnership allows opening of up to 50 locations over 10 years

to improve the availability of vegan options in hospitals and on campuses across Canada

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada – July 31, 2019 – Compass Group Canada, the country’s leading food service provider, and Copper Branch, the world’s largest vegan restaurant chain, today announced the launch of an exclusive national partnership aimed at improving the availability of plant-based options in healthcare and post-secondary settings in Canada.

Today, more Canadians identify as vegan or vegetarian than at any other point in history, with nearly three million adopting plant-based diets. Increasingly, customers—particularly those in healthcare and educational settings—are looking for healthy, plant-based alternatives. This partnership unites the plant-based food expertise of Copper Branch and the food service expertise of Compass Group Canada to deliver a best-in-class experience for Canadian customers seeking improved access to vegan options.

Under this agreement, Compass Group Canada has the option to open up to 50 Copper Branch locations over the next 10 years, with five planned openings in the next year. These new locations will put a wider array of healthy, plant-based options within reach for Compass Group Canada customers while simultaneously fueling Copper Branch’s growth.

“We are committed to making sustainability a key driver in our decision making.  Plant-forward meals is one of the key action platforms of the Compass Group sustainability strategy, promoting menu choices that are better for the body and the planet,” said Michael Hachey, Chief Innovation Officer at Compass Group Canada. “This strategic partnership is a direct response to what our customers have told us: they want healthy, plant-based options that are environmentally sustainable and fit into a well-balanced lifestyle. We are excited to partner with Copper Branch – a homegrown Canadian success story, and the world’s largest vegan restaurant chain – to offer more plant-based options for customers who want them.” 

 “Copper Branch understands the role 100% plant-based power food can play in a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle,” said Rio Infantino, Copper Branch’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our partnership with Compass Group Canada will allow us to put vegan options within reach for more Canadians while accelerating our growth and expanding our national footprint. We are thrilled to partner with the nation’s leading food service provider to diversify diets from coast to coast.”

Copper Branch
Started in 2014 and headquartered in Montreal, Copper Branch is a privately held company and
holds the distinction of being the largest and fastest growing plant-based fast casual chain in the world. The company’s mission is to Empower, Energize and make people feel their Best;
providing a convenient, plant-based dining experience without sacrificing taste, quality or
satisfaction. The reasonably priced, 100% plant-based menu items are never fried and consist of mainly organic and non-GMO ingredients. For locations, menus and other details, visit
https://EatCopperBranch.com/  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CopperBranch

Compass Group Canada Declares April 27th Stop Food Waste Day

Food waste in Canada is estimated at $31 billion a year with 30 per cent of all produced food ending up wasted and in a landfill.

April 27, 2018, Mississauga, ON – In an effort to inform Canadians about the growing issue of food waste, Compass Group Canada declared April 27th as Stop Food Waste Day in their locations across the country. Compass’ Stop Food Waste Day initiative is also supported by a Proclamation from the City of Toronto declaring April 27th as Stop Food Waste Day in the city.

Compass’ Canadian activities are part of the company’s greater overall global initiative with Stop Food Waste Day being held this Friday in over 30 countries around the world including:

  • Canada
  • US
  • UK
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • India
  • Denmark
  • Slovakia
  • Turkey
  • Brazil

To help mark Stop Food Waste Day, Compass will be raising awareness via social media, educational videos and marketing materials throughout their locations. All materials aim to educate associates as well as customers on how everyone can use food better. Compass will also be hosting a wide variety of events at their locations including chef demonstrations on how to use whole produce in Root to Stem cooking, chef competitions to see who can create the least amount of waste in their recipes and running Grounds for Your Garden initiatives diverting used coffee grounds from the landfill into visitors gardens instead.

“As the largest foodservice company in Canada, Compass Group has a role to play in reducing food waste whether that be through the creation of initiatives such as Stop Food Waste Day, our ongoing food waste reduction programs or the development of our education initiatives, said Saajid Khan, CEO and President of Compass Group Canada. “Compass is also working with some of the most innovative companies in the food waste sector including Winnow, a company with a smart technology solution to enable commercial kitchens to measure and better manage their food waste and Lean Path, a waste-tracking software used at major client sites in the USA.”

Compass country teams will receive ongoing support in their goal to reduce food waste ranging from training and tools targeting reducing food surplus, help in building partnerships to donate excess food to local communities, and marketing materials to raise awareness of ways to save at home.

Compass’ drive to make Stop Food Waste Day global is part of its aim to encourage positive actions in support of combating the rising problem of food waste. Food waste has quickly become a critical issue for the planet, both for the environment and for people:

In Canada

  • $31 billion in food is wasted each year
  • This accounts for Approximately 30% of all food produced in the country
  • Food waste doesn’t just waste food. When you add in the cost of other resources such as fuel, water, labour and land, it is a $100 billion waste
  • 47% of all food wasted in Canada, is in our own homes.

About Compass Group Canada
Compass Group Canada is Canada’s leading foodservice and support services provider with more than 25,000 associates and over 2,000 location. Exceptional foodservices and support services are provided to leading sports and leisure venues, executive dining rooms and cafés, schools, universities, seniors’ residences and hospitals, as well as remote camps and off shore oil rigs.

Compass Group PLC is the world’s leading food service company, which generated annual revenues of £22.6 billion in the year to 30 September 2017. It operates in around 50 countries, employs over 550,000 people and serves over 5.5 billion meals a year. The Company specialises in providing food and a range of support services across the core sectors of Business & Industry, Healthcare & Seniors, Education, Sports & Leisure and Defence, Offshore & Remote, with an established brand portfolio.

For more information visit www.compass-canada.com/stop-food-waste-day/.

Stop Food Waste Day Waste Warrior Spotlight: Liane Gregory

jliane gregory headshot

Liane Gregory, Manager, Sustainable Sourcing, Foodbuy Canada

1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

I love it. We must bring ideas and solutions into the light, so that everyone can start acting individually. There is massive impact when ideas are converted into combined individual actions.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the kitchen?

  1. Batch cook and freeze in portions (so you’re not actually producing leftovers!).
  2. Grow your own herbs. It’s a great feeling to know you grew it and herbs are usually quite easy to grow! So, it’s a few snips vs that huge clump of cilantro.
  3. Organize your fridge to help you. Don’t lose sight of the protein/produce that can go bad. Keep it easily viewable.

3. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Look in your fridge! Waste often occurs when we aren’t paying attention. “Ooops… that’s gone bad.” won’t happen so much.

4. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

Incorporating into creative frittatas! It’s Sunday Brunch Surprise. You can amaze yourself with your own creativity.

Stop Food Waste Day Chef Spotlight: Bradley Yip

chef bradley photo
Bradley Yip, Executive Chef, Eurest, Compass Group Canada

1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

Fantastic to see that it is being established as part and parcel of culinary excellence. No longer is it viewed as a separate ideology. If we are cooking food professionally we have an obligation to cook it responsibly and sustainably.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

When we use clear waste bins on the counter at each station, it forces us to look at what we are throwing away. It can also spark a discussion about what is usable and edible on some vegetables that were previously thrown away.

Batch cooking is another way to ensure that we are not over producing.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

Freezing herbs and tomato paste in cubes is a very good way to preserve and reuse them.

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Every small change that is made will start to make a bigger difference. Learning about how to use the entirety of a vegetable will greatly reduce what goes in the bin (or better yet the compost pile).

5. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

I love creating waste me not salads. Refining leftovers with chops and cuts and experimenting with them tossed in salads. You can get some pretty interesting flavour combinations.

Stop Food Waste Day Waste Warrior Spotlight: Cayla Runka

cayla runka photo

Cayla Runka, Director of Sustainability & Wellness, Business Excellence, Compass Group Canada

1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

I am encouraged that there is such focus on food waste. My family teases me as I use the term ‘don’t be wasteful’ a lot at home. Having grown up in an agriculture community and family, I feel everything we produce is precious and given those who also go without enough to eat, there needs to be massive social change to cut down and reduce the waste. It’s a huge problem and we are each responsible to do our part.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the kitchen?

I have dedicated ice cube trays in my freezer for food. When I have fresh herbs, I chop them all and they go into a tray and then the freezer. Just pop a few cubes out and fresh flavour is added to anything you want. I also do this with tomato paste, broth and anything else where there is a little left. It’s so easy and convenient and saves money in the long run too. I also keep trimmings like onion peel, carrot tops/peels, fennel tops and herb stems in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for throwing into the bottom of a roasting pan or stock pot for added flavour.

3. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Meal plan and shop with a list. I know it sounds boring but when you know exactly what you are cooking, you only buy the things you need and know you will use.

4. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

I’m not sure I ever have to do that…leftovers disappear in my house the next day for lunch! If there are odd bits of ingredients left…it’s either the soup pot or the salad bowl.

Stop Food Waste Day Chef Spotlight: Andre Blanchet

andre blanchet photo
Andre Blanchet, Corporate Executive Chef, Restaurant Associates, Compass Group Canada

1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

It stems to more than just what’s being thrown in the bin inside the kitchen or out of the fridge that needs to be paid attention to. I was a big fan of how Intermache supermarket in France launched an ‘ugly fruits and vegetables’ program a few years back. A lot of people were shocked to learn that if a vegetable/fruit doesn’t meet a standard length, shape, weight or colour it gets tossed before it reaches the store. Intermarche discounted these items by 30% to ensure they were doing their part. Amazing!

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the professional kitchen?

Watch what is coming back on the plate from the dining room. You would be surprised at how you are over portioning. Sure, we want guests to think that they are getting value for their money, but how often do you hear in your own restaurant that the portions are small? Probably seldom. There’s an amazing Ethiopian restaurant in Toronto I go to called Wazema. It’s so cheap! But every time we order the platter for two, we bring home leftovers for days (great for me). But in doing so, the restaurant is throwing another $0.40 down the drain in extra packaging after the meal as well, when I would have been just as satisfied and happy if I had nothing left on my plate.

3. How about in the home kitchen?

Stop buying bulk! Go to the grocery store more frequently and buy individual items. That 10lb bag of potatoes may seem cheaper down the road, but a month later they shrink, lose half the volume and begin sprouting or becoming mouldy. An untouched 10lb bag of potatoes will quickly become an 8lb bag of potatoes if you leave it for a few weeks. Same with bananas. You aren’t breaking the law if you take that bunch of bananas on the shelf and break off what you need. You need 3 bananas? There’s 6 on the bunch? Break them off!

4. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Read an article on how to store your perishables. You’ll be fascinated! Brown paper bags for mushrooms, clay bowl on the cupboard for fresh garlic, wet paper towel for your herbs. Small changes that lengthen a products life, and gives you the best tasting product.

5. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

Plan every meal to have a secondary purpose. Mondays spaghetti sauce becomes Tuesday mornings Shakshuka. Tuesday evenings pizza slices becomes Wednesdays croutons for your Caesar salad (yes! Chopped up pizza slices make crazy tasty Caesar salad croutons). Also, food usually develops more flavour a day later. An old chef of mine was brilliant when he said “it shouldn’t be called ‘soup of the day’. It should be called ‘soup of yesterday’ because soup always tastes better the second day.”

Stop Food Waste Day Waste Warrior Spotlight: Jana Vodicka

jana vodicka photo

Jana Vodicka, Manager, Campus Engagement & Sustainability, Business Excellence, Compass Group Canada

1. What’s your take on all the attention food waste is getting lately?

Food waste is a highly tangible issue, with social, economic and environmental implications. We all eat, so food waste has each of our names on it. Luckily, we have plenty of power and authority to reduce our contributions. The best part is that it can be as easy as freezing your left overs and giving your future self a break.

2. What are your best tips to make it easy to reduce food waste in the kitchen?

Making stock from trimmings, peels and any other food parts left over from meal prep is one way to get more mileage out of your food, and keep waste to a minimum. Reduce it, strain out the bits and freeze in small containers to use as seasoning, even a splash to add a pop of flavour to an omelette!

3. What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Prevention is the ideal solution, but the downstream impacts are just as important. If you have organic collection services, either at school, work, or at home, even a backyard composter – use it. Most of the waste in garbage by weight is food waste, putting incredible pressure on landfill capacities, waste related taxes, and ecosystems.

4. What is your favourite way to repurpose leftovers?

Making soups or casseroles with leftovers leads to surprising deliciousness. Most of the work is already done so it’s relatively quick to prepare, and the flavours have married to result in one-of-a-kind delicious meals.

Celebrate Earth Month Through Food

crate of assorted vegetables on grass

Celebrate Earth Month Through Food

Of the total land area that we as humans occupy on the earth, we dedicate half of it to agriculture production[1].  Three quarters of this land is used for raising livestock and the remainder for crops1. Interestingly however, livestock only provides 20% of the world’s supply of calories, yet occupies the greatest proportion of agricultural land.[2] Inevitably as the population continues to grow, we will need to consider not only how much we eat but what we eat. Earth Month is a great time to celebrate our beautiful planet, and also to reflect upon what we as humans can do to help preserve it. Simple changes in our diet and lifestyle can have significant positive effects on the earth. Here are ways that we can celebrate Earth Month, through food:

  1. Embrace plant-forward meals. Eating a diet that consists mainly of plants (whole grains, legumes, soy, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds) can help to reduce your carbon footprint by 55%[3]. This can easily be achieved by designing your meals to feature plant-based foods first and then use animal proteins as a garnish. Alternatively, try dedicating one day per week to a meat-free meal.
  2. Minimize your red meat consumption. Beef utilizes 20 times the amount of land and emits 20 times the amount of greenhouse gas per unit of edible protein, in comparison to plant-based counterparts such as lentils, peas and beans[4]. Switching some of your protein choices each week for a plant-based alternative can have a big environmental impact. For example try substituting half the amount of ground meat in your #tacotuesday recipe for beans or lentils.
  3. Choose locally grown foods when possible. Foods that are locally grown and in season, are not only fresher in flavour, they support your local economy. They are also more environmentally friendly as the distance the food travels from farm to plate is lessened, reducing transportation emissions and energy usage for storage and processing[5]. Check out what’s in season.
  4. Opt for sustainable seafood choices. 31% of the world’s fish stocks are fished at an unsustainable level[6]. Choosing sustainably sourced fish and seafood promotes a more viable supply. Visit Ocean Wise to learn more about sustainable seafood options.

If we really want to make an impact this Earth Month, we can all take part in Stop Food Waste Day on April 27th. Stop Food Waste Day brings awareness to the issue of food waste across the globe and what we can do to help stop it. It is estimated that 1/3 of the world’s food that is produced every year is wasted[7], and in Canada the annual cost of food waste is 31 billion dollars[8]! Considering the environmental impacts of landfills and the levels of food insecurity and malnutrition across the globe, food waste should be top of mind. For more tips on how you can reduce the amount of food waste in your home visit www.stopfoodwaste.ca.


[1] https://ourworldindata.org/yields-and-land-use-in-agriculture

[2] https://ourworldindata.org/agricultural-land-by-global-diets

[3] https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-community/environmental-health/article/sustainable-eating-eco-friendly-diet

[4] https://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

[5] https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/food-climate-change/

[6] https://www.fao.org/3/a-i5555e.pdf

[7] https://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/

[8] https://vcm-international.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Food-Waste-in-Canada-27-Billion-Revisited-Dec-10-2014.pdf