QSR Magazine, INDUSTRY NEWS | FEBRUARY 23, 2021
Just Salad released its annual environmental sustainability report announcing new steps to eliminate waste from fast-casual dining and support the Circular Economy. The company also provided updates on its carbon labeling initiative, no-plastic meal kit brand Housemade, various waste reduction programs, and efforts to reduce energy consumption.
“In 2020, our world changed but our values did not,” Sandra Noonan, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Nick Kenner, CEO and Founder of Just Salad, wrote in the report. “The COVID pandemic made us more determined to create a new normal for our industry – one in which waste is taboo, reusables are taken for granted, and doing ‘less bad’ is not good enough.”
Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic created for restaurants in 2020, Just Salad continued to pursue its aggressive sustainability strategy and is now piloting a digital version of its reusable bowl program, the world’s largest and longest-running program of its kind. Under the pilot, now live at Just Salad’s 600 3rd Avenue location, customers can order from orderjustsalad.com in a Green Reusable Bowl and return the container to Just Salad for professional washing and sanitation. Just Salad is providing a similar service to corporate partners through its Hub program, which provides daily delivery to offices.
In addition, the company is pursuing a number of sustainability initiatives in the coming year including:
- Integrating sustainable behaviors into its loyalty and rewards program
- Partnering with research scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, Tulane University and Harvard University on a behavioral survey related to its carbon labels
- Reducing food waste through a pilot with the surplus food app Too Good To Go
The report also discusses the following initiatives and milestones in 2020:
- Became the first U.S. restaurant chain to display carbon labels on its menu and offer a curated Climatarian menu featuring its lowest-emissions menu items
- Relaunched its smoothie menu with vegan ingredients and partnered with Daring, makers of 100 percent plant-based chicken, to offer a second plant-based meat option in addition to Beyond Beef
- Eliminated plastic dressing and beverage cups and launched a utensil waste reduction program on orderjustsalad.com and third-party ordering platforms
- Started a pilot test with the zero-waste online ordering platform DeliverZero
- Rolled out a Sustainability Champion program for in-store staff and an educational Sustainability Fellow program for students
The report also discusses Just Salad’s launch of Housemade, a no-subscription meal kit with 91 percent less packaging than standard meal kits. Housemade is revolutionizing the meal kit business, offering zero-prep, one-pan meal kits in zero-plastic packaging, grocery staples, and prepared foods from the Just Salad menu. The new service is available within delivery range of Just Salad’s locations in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Chicago, and South Florida.
“While we faced many unanticipated challenges arising from the pandemic, I’m proud of our team for remaining steadfast in its commitment to sustainability throughout 2020,” says Kenner.
“This report shows that even in the hardest of times – like a global pandemic – sustainability makes good business sense,” says Noonan. “We’re excited to continue delivering on our mission to make everyday health and everyday sustainability possible.”