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The story behind Meatless Mondays

Photo by Matthew Simonson 

After ending Taco Tuesdays, Sodexo incorporated Meatless Mondays to find more environmentally friendly food selections for students.

“Part of the reason is food costs, and not just on our end, it just takes a lot of resources to process meat products,” said Aaron Sorden, Executive Chef of Sodexo. “But the bigger part is more for the environment. It’s to help the whole world.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states there are about 23 billion chickens, 1.5 billion cows and 1 billion pigs, in the world according to research in 2016.

To accommodate the almost 26 billion animals grown for human consumption, the industry has converted 83 percent of the world’s farmland just for the purpose of animal products such as meat, aquaculture, eggs and dairy use, which totals 26 percent of the world’s total land area.

“So if you go more of a farm-to-table sort of situation, there’s no processing,” Sorden continued. “It cuts out a lot of oil and electricity, and everything that usually gets beef, chicken or any meat products from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ takes a lot less effort, a lot less water and saves a lot of resources. That’s part of the reason why we do it.”

According to a study done by the Institute for Water Education, for one pound of beef, a cow needs to consume 55 pounds of grain and uses up to 15 thousand liters of water.

With so much feed, there is very little return as cows only convert about four percent of the protein and three percent of the calories into the meat we consume.

A study from 2013 shows growers could feed an additional four billion people if everyone ate what they grew for the animals.

Also, 80 percent of all the antibiotics produced in the US are used by the livestock industry to keep them from dying in poor conditions. This affects consumers as diseases and bacteria in livestock are constantly adapting to develop antibiotic resistance.

While Meatless Mondays are not every Monday, Sodexo is taking steps to incorporate sustainable ways where ORU participates and adds to the diversity of nutrition for students.

Student views

“I love the concept of it, but I feel like they aren’t very creative, and everything tastes the same, kinda bland and boring.”- Sarah Wilcox

“As a vegetarian it is literally the only night I can eat a full meal.” – Noah Green

“The meatless options don’t taste good.” – Anna Glassman

“If they discontinue Meatless Monday, they should offer more vegan/vegetarian options.”  – Cierra Johnson 

“Meat substitutes are not a good idea. If you’re vegetarian, stick to being that, don’t try to eat fake meat.” – Lauren Blair