Google makes it easy for employees to eat less meat

Google wants everyone to eat less meat, and it’s devising strategies to achieve that goal. Given the company’s massive workforce, makes sense that Google would try out some of its approaches on its own employees:

One theory: Restaurants need new recipes to compete with so-called “power dishes”–the entrees most commonly found on menus in the United States. Right now, number one is a chicken sandwich, followed by a chicken salad, and salmon. Out of the top 20, only one, a veggie sandwich/wrap, doesn’t have meat. Google, along with a small group of other organizations that are part of the Better Buying Lab, has spent the last six months experimenting with recipes for a new “plant-forward” dish that could make the list…..

The company’s typical strategy is not to try to convert meat-lovers immediately to fully vegetarian food; this is in line with a World Resources Institute study that calculated that if meat-heavy regions cut back on meat 17%, it could reduce their per-person greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by about half. The blended burger, like a similar burger now served at some locations of the fast-food chain Sonic, is a good example of the reduction strategy. The mushrooms, which soak up the flavor of the beef as they cook and add moisture, make the patty taste better while trimming the carbon footprint. The version served at Google has slowly increased the percentage of mushrooms in the patty from 20% to 50%. (Because beef has the highest carbon footprint of any meat, Google says it is particularly aggressive in its work to reduce the beef each Googler consumes). In other dishes, meat might shift from being the center of the meal to a side or garnish.

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