Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

The 2016 Menus of Change Annual Report

 One of the 12 breakout sessions during Menus of Change, “The State of Nutrition Science,” was a conversation about the dietary guidelines, paleo diets, and more
 Dr. Tim Ryan ’77, president of the CIA, opened Menus of Change 2016 with a review of accomplishments from past conferences and the CIA-Harvard partnerships

Foodservice Industry Picks Up Pace of Change, Amidst a Growing Focus on Climate Change, Water Scarcity, Added Sugar, and Innovation Around “Plant Forward”

Hyde Park, NY – The 2016 Menus of Change Annual Report was released by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health at the fourth annual Menus of Change® leadership summit, held at the CIA’s Hyde Park, NY campus. Each year, along with case studies and trend analysis, the annual report rates the foodservice industry’s progress toward addressing public health and environmental imperatives. Two advisory councils, comprised of leading scientists, analysts, and foodservice business leaders from across the country, rate the food industry’s progress each year and provide executive briefings on the latest scientific findings and business developments.

The ratings this year presented a mixed picture but with substantial movement in the right direction. The culinary profession and the foodservice industry are playing a key role in improving what we eat, and the pace of positive change is increasing noticeably. In the past year, the foodservice industry has begun to recognize the rising cost from lack of visibility into supply chains and other environmental factors, yet it will need to more urgently address threats to the industry from climate change and water scarcity. While change on environmental issues remains slow, the stage is now set for substantial improvements and tangible business benefits. Already, investors are pricing in the value of companies that pay attention to environmental concerns and actively manage their supply chains and expecting all companies to do the same.

The report also examines the convergence of environmental and nutrition science and public policy at the center of our plates. Earlier this year, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) released their assessment of the state of the American diet and what we should be eating. Notably, and for the first time, the guidelines—and especially the earlier report of the DGA scientific advisory committee—found that many Americans eat too much red meat and that adults need to substantially reduce the amount of added sugar they consume in foods and beverages. The two reports raised awareness among both policy makers and the general public about the same nutrition research and environmental science that are at the foundation of Menus of Change, citing both the health benefits of plant-forward dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, and also the environmental benefits of eating a larger share of plant-based foods.

Meanwhile, in Paris this winter, the United Nations held its annual Conference of the Parties (COP), bringing the world’s nations together to find ways to address climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Remarkably, this 21st meeting resulted in the first-ever global agreement on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hold temperate increases to only 2º C, just below the level that would trigger the most challenging changes in our weather, water availability, and sea levels. That agreement set goals that nations can only achieve this if we change the way we grow food and the foods we choose to eat—imperatives that riveted the attention of Menus of Change summit attendees.

The Menus of Change summit, held June 14–16 at the CIA’s Marriott Pavilion, was attended by more than 400 chefs, food and foodservice leaders, scientific experts, investors, and entrepreneurs. In addition, classes of CIA students attended with their faculty as part of their course work, and hundreds more from around the world joined on a live webcast, which is available for anyone to watch.

Highlights of the conference included plenary sessions on the investor community’s growing expectations that foodservice companies actively improve their sustainability and social responsibility performance, steps to reduce antibiotic use in foodservice industry supply chains, and how competing companies can create collective value by working together on issues such as fish, seafood, and the health of our oceans. The conference also featured advice for succeeding in the business of plant-forward food from leading chefs, business executives, and marketing experts.

“At a time when Americans are increasingly shifting their food choices to reflect greater interest in health and sustainability, our nation’s chefs and foodservice operators have never been more engaged, more passionate about re-imagining the future of American menus,” says CIA President Tim Ryan. “Through our Menus of Change partnership with Harvard Chan School, we are committed to helping our industry both build on the very promising innovation we are already seeing as well as become more strategic about accelerating the pace of change.”

The report, general session webcast, and many other resources can be found at To keep up with more news about Menus of Change and its principles at work, subscribe to regular updates on the website and follow @CIALeadership on Twitter with #CIAMOC.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images:

Photo 1: The 2016 Menus of Change Annual Report was released at the fourth annual Menus of Change leadership summit on June 14. It includes an analysis of issues at the convergence of public health, the environment, and the business of food, plus and updated Dashboard of how the food and foodservice industries have progressed—or not—since last year's report was issued. (Photo credit: J Wright Design)
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Photo 2: One of the 12 breakout sessions during Menus of Change, “The State of Nutrition Science,” was a conversation about the dietary guidelines, paleo diets, and more that featured (left to right): Robert Lawrence, MD (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), David Katz, MD, MPH (Yale-Griffin Prevention Research), Allison Aubrey (NPR), and Walter Willett, MD, DrPH (Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health). (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 3: Dr. Tim Ryan ’77, president of The Culinary Institute of America, opened Menus of Change 2016 with a review of accomplishments from past conferences, the CIA-Harvard partnerships, and how the CIA continues to fulfill the promises of healthy, sustainable, and delicious food choices. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
View hi-res image >

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About The Culinary Institute of America

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to driving leadership development for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; and executive education through its Food Business School. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, world cuisines & cultures, and professional excellence & innovation. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its worldwide network of 48,000 alumni includes leaders in every area of foodservice and hospitality. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

About the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students from around the world, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people’s lives—not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices to create a healthier world. For more information, visit

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