Score Big with Plant-Powered Food

About the author : Leigh Mills

Area Executive Chef

Published on : 9/14/23
  • Sodexo Chef Leigh Mills picture

    How did I, a French-trained chef from England, find myself preparing Sonoran hot dogs at an ASU-Fresno State Green Game?

    Perhaps the more relevant question: what’s a Sonoran hot dog? It’s a Phoenix regional favorite: native to the Mexican state of Sonora, wrapped in bacon, often served on a bolillo bun and topped with everything from beans to yellow mustard to avocado puree. Like me and all of us, the Sonoran dog reflects the depth and nuance of “local” – our journeys, eclectic backgrounds, and experiences that bring us together. 

    There’s no place I’d rather be. Beyond the chance to innovate and serve the best in game-day fare to die-hard maroon and gold fans, I’m proud to support both ASU and Sodexo in their leadership for sustainability. Local is global right now, and every one of us is empowered to make a difference for our climate. 

    Maybe that sounds too heavy to worry about while you’re in line for snacks at Mountain America Stadium. That’s okay. Ultimately, my goal is to remind you that sustainable is accessible, fun, and delicious. Beyond the compostable containers and energy and water reduction we’ve been leading for years, we’re showing up with plant-based options across the menu, in the carts, in the suites, in the clubs, and in the stands. No matter where you’re cheering for the Sun Devils, easy new choices can make a huge impact. Those who follow a plant-based diet account for a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than those who eat more than 3.5 ounces of meat in a day and significantly reduce impacts on land, water, and biodiversity.

    sonoran hot dogsSo, about those Sonoran dogs…surprise…they are plant-based! Just as fun, but better for us and our planet. As a chef, my diners are my top consideration: at ASU, students, fans, staff, faculty, alumnae all matter. No one likes the same things at a game, so variety is essential. We do know that 35 percent of Americans are actively looking to eat less meat, even at the big game. At Sodexo Campus, our commitment is that 50% of our menus will be plant-based by 2025. Our teams did the analysis, revealing that at least 70% of our company’s U.S. supply carbon footprint was related to animal-based food purchases in 2020. By increasing the number of plant-based and plant-forward options on our menus, we intend to reduce our global carbon footprint by 34 percent. 

    Forks up! (and carbon emissions down!)

    If you would like to learn more about our plant-powered initiatives, click below.

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