Sun Devil Dining launches climate-friendly meal choices through Cool Food Badges

Sun Devil Dining at Arizona State University is making it easier for students and the campus community to choose climate-friendly foods through the launch of Cool Food Meals this January. This program is part of ASU's ongoing commitment to the environment and sustainability. 

Last October, the World Resources Institute announced that its Cool Food Meals badge will appear on Aramark menus as part of a 10-university pilot beginning in the spring 2022 semester. The Cool Food Meals badge identifies dishes with a lower carbon footprint and will appear on more than 350 menu items. 

“The Cool Food Meals pilot program can assist both ASU and Aramark in efforts toward achieving their sustainability goals by raising awareness of our carbon footprint, encouraging the campus community to make more informed food choices and fostering deeper conversations around how we can work to reduce harmful impacts on the climate,” said Krista Keisu, Sun Devil Dining’s sustainability manager. 

The World Resources Institute measured the carbon footprint of hundreds of Aramark recipes to identify items that meet the Cool Food Meals criteria based on the ingredients from farm to fork and the land used to produce the meal. If a dish’s carbon footprint falls below an established per-meal threshold and meets a nutrition safeguard, it is approved as a Cool Food Meal. 

Cool Food Meals will be found at the Tempe campus residential dining halls, including Pitchforks, Hassayampa, Manzanita, Barrett Dining Center and Tooker House. Some examples of Sun Devil Dining dishes that will be labeled as a Cool Food Meals include: a southwestern sweet potato breakfast skillet, linguine with lemon garlic shrimp and cauliflower rice stir fry.

Among ASU's sustainability goals, the Cool Food Meals program closely aligns with the university's goal of food reconnection, which strives to foster a strong relationship with food, knowledge of its sources and impacts on the health of the planet, and encourage plant-forward diets.

Aramark is the first contract catering company to adopt the Cool Food Meals badge.