Sodexo Employees Shine In Innovation Challenge

Published on : 11/1/23
  • Who knows innovation best? Our employees in the field — the people working every day to make us the global leader in delivering sustainable food and valued experiences.

    This year, we challenged our employees worldwide to take a step ahead on sustainability through the Innov’Challenge, an employee engagement program aligned with Better Tomorrow 2025, our Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) roadmap.

    Sodexo’s Innov’Challenge aimed to:

    • Boost Sustainability and CSR innovation by nurturing a culture where employees are encouraged to think creatively and impact operational change 
    • Create value for clients, enhancing service offerings
    • Encourage purpose-driven action, empowering employees to see themselves as changemakers
    • Identify innovative, scalable solutions that can be implemented regionally and globally

    Employees submitted ideas in four categories impacting:

    1. Emissions & Resources — targeting the reduction of carbon emissions and use of resources, such as electricity, gas, water, etc. 
    2. Waste — reducing food waste and single use plastics
    3. Eating — focusing on sustainable food options, healthy eating solutions, food packaging or improving supply chain sustainability
    4. Employee Nutrition — supporting access to nutrition and the well-being of onsite teams

    Seven regional winners were chosen to travel to Sodexo’s global headquarters in Paris this fall to pitch their ideas to senior leadership. Two winning teams emerged from North America, embodying our spirit of innovation, ingenuity and sustainability. The global winners will receive a holistic package to scale and implement their ideas, which will positively impact our employees, clients and communities.

    Foodprint Foodhall

    Chef-Jennifer-women-holding-awardChef Jennifer DiFrancesco and her colleague Sherie Sheran won in the Eating category. Foodprint Foodhall envisions a groundbreaking sustainable dining program.

    Chef Jennifer, Manager of Solutions Development for Campus, says:

    “Bringing craveable plant-based options that are approachable, relatable and equitable is a goal for Sodexo. Showcasing good food that happens to be plant-based AND better for the environment is a win!”

    “We know consumers are demanding a focus on sustainability,” she says. “Our clients are looking for an innovative solution and this is where we can add value. I’m thrilled Foodprint Foodhall will be a comprehensive climate conscious dining experience that leads in flavor and eco-friendliness.”

    The Foodprint Foodhall team will work in tandem with Belgium team members Valentine Boone and Eline de Marbaix, who also won for their idea, Vegetalising Our Menus to Start a Cultural Shift. 

    Food Repurposed for Good 

    Stacy-Daedelow-and-Sarah-women-holding-awardStacy Daedelow, Patient Services Manager at University Hospitals at Cleveland Medical Center, won in the Employee Nutrition category for her proposal to repurpose surplus food for employees to enjoy at home.  
    Daedelow’s idea grew out of a very personal experience; when she was in college, she worked a part-time foodservices job and struggled to support her family.

    “I would see like 15 chicken breasts being thrown out – that would be like three meals for my family,” she remembers. She asked for permission to take home leftovers. “I was in need, and someone gave me permission to have that food. It made an impact on me and my whole family. We have all struggled at some point.”

    Daedelow’s initiative is designed to help meet the needs of any employee experiencing food insecurity. The program will distribute excess food, portioned in microwaveable eco-friendly take-out containers to employees at no cost. Before distribution, meals are frozen, according to safe handling standards, labeled and tracked in WasteWatch powered by Leanpath, Sodexo’s automated food waste tracking system.

    Sodexo’s global and regional leadership teams have signed off to launch Food Repurposed for Good this year at University Hospitals, with help from Operations Manager Sarah Watson and Culinary Director Anthony Verona. 

    The hospital’s nutrition services have 260 employees, many of whom are refugees living in homes with large extended families or with friends, Daedelow says. She knows the take-home meals will be appreciated. 

    “Food is wasted every day. And even if our employees receive only one meal per day, it’s helping them and their family in some way.”

    To learn more about Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow Commitments, which include waste reduction, plant-based eating and carbon reduction, visit us at