Issue Briefs

The Issue Briefs listed below are taken directly from the 2017 Menus of Change Annual Report so they are easier for you to study and share. Share these issues on Twitter using the buttons below, to help spread the information from the report to your followers.

Our State-of-the-Plate Dashboard summarizes the Issue Briefs and is the centerpiece of Menus of Change. It provides a concise analysis of the 16 issues that sit at the intersection of public health, the environment, and the business of food.

These briefs synthesize the latest health and environmental data to provide a clear picture of the industry’s challenges and opportunities, as well as practical next steps for foodservice operations. The report also assigns each issue a score that rates the industry’s efforts in these critical areas.


The scores were developed based on the expert opinions of the Menus of Change Scientific and Technical Advisory Council, who considered new research findings and trend data as well as innovations and change in business practices and policies, and were reviewed by members of the Menus of Change Sustainable Business Leadership Council to ensure they reflected new industry initiatives and practices.

The key for the scores is in the sidebar at right. To read the full brief, simply click on the title. To download a PDF of any of them, click on the link at the top of each article. The copyright for all Issue Briefs is the following:

© 2017 The Culinary Institute of America and President and Fellows of Harvard College

Innovations in the Food Industry

Wed, September 06, 2017
​The foodservice industry is transforming rapidly to meet consumer demand for healthy, transparent, and convenient food.

Supply Chain Resiliency and Transparency

Tue, September 05, 2017
​In 2016, there was a series of advances in making the food supply more transparent, yet also reminders that our food supply is still subject to contamination and wide-scale fraud and misrepresentation.

Changes in Investment Standards for the Food Industry among Professional Investors

Mon, September 04, 2017
Investors place significant and growing weight on the health and sustainability profiles of food companies when calculating company value.

Chefs’ Influence on Consumer Attitudes

Sun, September 03, 2017
While 2016 was not the most groundbreaking year on record for the U.S. restaurant industry, it was one that saw innovative concepts and casual, eclectic menus emerge out of both a desire for fun and economic constraints.

Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors About Healthy and Sustainable Food

Sat, September 02, 2017
Contradictory headlines about nutrition continue unabated. Inconsistent claims abound about the health versus risk of sodium, saturated fat, sugar, carbohydrates, meat, GMO foods, and organic foods. It can be hard not to become skeptical . . .

Local Food and the Farm to Table Movement

Fri, September 01, 2017
The farm-to-table movement leapt into the mainstream in the early 2000s, as food activists around the country strove to develop strong connections between restaurants and local farming communities. Consumers are... read more

Animal Welfare

Thu, August 31, 2017
One hundred years ago the country and the planet had fewer people, eating less meat, in smaller portions. The demand for meat, dairy, and eggs was met by an agricultural system built of many more farms and ranches that were smaller than those that predominate livestock agriculture today.

Portion Size and Caloric Intake

Wed, August 30, 2017
It seems to make so much sense. If you want to lose weight, simply “eat less, and move more.” This advice has been proffered by government, by professional societies, and at the doctor’s office. Yet an astoundingly small proportion of people with excessive weight (more than two thirds of the U.S. adult population) can maintain significant weight loss over the long term.

Fruit and Vegetable Production and Consumption

Tue, August 29, 2017
While finding new ways to use local and heirloom varieties of produce continues to be among the top trends for America’s chefs, the great hopes for increased fruit and vegetable consumption and production are not yet being realized.

Protein Consumption and Production

Mon, August 28, 2017
​The average American over age 20 consumes between 48 percent and 76 percent more protein than is recommended, for women and men respectively.

Fish, Seafood, and Oceans

Sun, August 27, 2017
The past year has brought a number of high points regarding seafood, but the overall level of improvement has stalled mainly from issues surrounding traceability.

Climate Change

Sat, August 26, 2017
Climate change is a growing threat to the U.S. food system. It threatens the ability of all Americans to obtain high quality, nutritious food on a consistent basis and in adequate quantities year round.

Water Sustainability

Fri, August 25, 2017
In 2016, the United Nations, in its latest World Water Development Report, highlighted the link between sustainable management of water resources and employment. Globally, three out of four jobs are water-dependent.

Agriculture, Drugs, and Chemicals Use

Thu, August 24, 2017
At the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva last spring, World Health Organization (WHO) director general Margaret Chan warned of the three “slo mo” disasters confronting global public health: antibiotic resistance, climate change, and non-communicable disease.


Wed, August 23, 2017
The standard business model for scratch cooking with high-quality ingredients involves passing on the costs to the diner by marking up the price of the item to compensate. But at... read more

Healthy Food vs. Healthcare Spending and Trends in Medical-Culinary Educational Alliances

Tue, August 22, 2017
It is uncommon for medical, culinary, and food industry communities to share data, skills, questions, and ideas, or partner in efforts to diminish rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related health problems.

Land Use and Natural Resource Conservation

Mon, August 21, 2017
Is there a balance between U.S. agricultural production and American dietary pattern needs? Are we nurturing our land in a way that restores and regenerates our natural resource base while nurturing our bodies through healthy dietary patterns?