The three largest cafeteria operators in North America—Sodexo, Aramark, and Compass Group—purchase billions of dollars worth of food every year. Currently, the vast majority of that food comes from Big Food corporations that lock family farmers and ranchers out of the market.
These foodservice management corporations falsely claim to be delivering what students are demanding in the way of good food from local farmers and ranchers. Instead, they are partnering with the biggest, most destructive agribusiness corporations on the planet through an opaque and unethical kickbacks scheme that’s delivering the opposite of what students are promised. As a result, local food system initiatives and independent family farmers and ranchers are failing for lack of support.
OCM is a founding member of the Community Coalition for Real Meals and its Real Meals Campaign. Together, we are urging these foodservice management corporations to move their business models away from a system of exclusive relationships with big food corporations and toward investments in food that supports workers, communities, and the environment, while investing in small-scale producers and producers of color.
In order to realize these goals, the Community Coalition for Real Meals is calling on the three foodservice management corporations to eliminate kickbacks in their business models, and:
- buy at least 25 percent of their food from sources that are local and community-based, fair, ecologically sustainable, and humane;
- reduce their carbon emissions and industrial animal product purchases by 25 percent; and
- increase racial justice and equity in their supply chains by increasing purchasing from and investing in infrastructure to support disenfranchised producers.
The Community Coalition for Real Meals is an intergenerational grassroots alliance of farmers, ranchers, fishers, farmworkers, students, and environmental advocates who believe food is a powerful lever for social change. The coalition includes the Domestic Fair Trade Association, Fair World Project, Friends of the Earth, HEAL Food Alliance, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, Operation Spring Plant, Organization for Competitive Markets, Public Justice, and Real Food Challenge.