True to form, Google is taking a data-driven approach to tackle a unique problem: meat reduction.
Google’s Sunnyvale campus has become a testing ground for the company’s efforts to build sustainability into its foodservice operation by nudging employees toward eco-friendly food choices in an attempt to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
[In case you missed this: Meat production is responsible for an outsize amount of greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, land degradation, and deforestation, to name a few]
This doesn’t mean that Google has suddenly eliminated all animal products from its menu. The idea is to use behavioral science to nudge people in the right direction, instead of hitting people over the head with guilt.
As Scott Giambastiani, Google's global food program chef and operations manager, explained to Fast Company, "We need to think through how we can make a better choice easier for people.”
A few ways Google is doing just that:
- Creating plant-based dishes that compete with America’s most popular foodservice dishes (chicken sandwiches take the top spot at the moment)
- Creating blended burgers to cut down on the animal meat used per serving
- Tweaking menu descriptions to make plant-based dishes more appealing
- Rearranging the order of items on the menu
Google’s efforts are part of a bigger project called the Better Buying Lab, which is run by the World Resources Institute and works to study the barriers preventing consumers to shifting away from meat consumption and develop strategies to overcome them. The ultimate goal is to take the insights and menu items created at Google and take them into the broader world, where all of us who aren't one of the lucky members of the Google team can benefit as well.
To learn more about The Good Food Institute's work to make plant-based alternatives the default choice instead of the difficult choice, check out what we do!