Fresh Ideas Launches Historic Plant-Based Commitment

January 26, 2022


Fresh Ideas Food Service Management recently released a new, expansive line of entirely plant-based menu concepts, known as Mindful Fork, in consultation with the Humane Society of the United States. The launch of Mindful Fork coincided with Fresh Ideas’ landmark announcement to eventually provide one plant-based entrée for every meat-based option.

Today, using Mindful Fork as its driving force, Fresh Ideas is announcing it has updated the company’s goal to now include an industry-first timeline, which states that 50% of their menu entrées will be plant-based by July 1, 2025. This plant-based goal is historic, as it’s the most ambitious of its kind by any food service management company.

Mindful Fork is a chef-driven initiative that includes innovative plant-based menu items spanning breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrées, quick-service options, allergen-friendly dishes, and desserts. Thousands of guests can now enjoy Mindful Fork at colleges and universities, K-12 schools, senior living facilities, and corporate campuses across the Midwest, South, and Southeast regions of the United States.

Chef Carl Lovett, vice president of Culinary at Fresh Ideas, said: “Plant-based is ultimately much more than a trend – it’s a lifestyle that’s here to stay. That’s why Fresh Ideas created Mindful Fork and today announced our historic plant-based goal.”

To achieve this pledge, Fresh Ideas is working with the HSUS on creating delicious and flavorful plant-based recipes, marketing concepts and promotions, and the first-ever virtual culinary trainings for its cohort of executive chefs and culinary professionals.

“Along with our partners at the HSUS, we’ve created irresistible food that just so happens to be plant-based. We’re thrilled that Mindful Fork is a focal point for our culinary programs going forward,” remarked Lovett. “These delicious dishes will satisfy everyone from diehard meat-eaters to flexitarians to vegans. We’re excited to continue to expand this initiative to provide one plant-based offering for every meat-based option by July 1, 2025.”

Kate Watts, a manager with the Food Service Innovation team at the HSUS said, “Fresh Ideas is demonstrating what leadership looks like in truly doing its part to address animal welfare, climate change and provide healthier offerings to customers, all while providing even more delicious menu entrées.” She added, “Even more, the company understands that providing more plant-based offerings isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also good business sense. With today’s announcement, Fresh Ideas has now set the bar in the food service industry, and we hope that other companies will follow suit.”

To meet its goal, Fresh Ideas will:

  • Target annual menu goals to achieve 10% Mindful Fork plant-based entrees by the beginning of 2023, 25% by the beginning of 2024, 45% by the beginning of 2025, and successfully achieving 50% of Mindful Fork plant-based entrees on menus by July 1, 2025.
  • Expand culinary trainings across all Fresh Ideas operations to train culinary staff on the proprietary Mindful Fork recipes and Mindful Fork marketing to ensure successful menu change.
  • Report progress annually in reaching the 50% target in 2025.

The Mindful Fork menu includes dishes such as chorizo chickpea sandwiches with fiery corn salsa, murgh makhani (Indian butter) tofu, orange-ginger glazed cauliflower, braised jackfruit tacos, and more plant-based concepts that can be incorporated in all Fresh Ideas dining stations. Many of these dishes conveniently lend themselves to “grab and go,” prepackaged menu options that will be heavily emphasized with COVID dining and support the flexible schedules of our guests, says Lovett.

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