Sustainability Commitments

UChicago Dining works to reduce our environmental footprint while developing programs that promote sustainability through environmentally friendly products and practices, sustainable food and local purchasing options, energy and water conservation efforts, and waste management.

Sustainable Food Procurement

  • We emphasize fresh whole foods that are raised, grown, harvested, and produced locally or sustainably wherever possible. 35 to 40 percent of our purchases are from minority- or women-owned businesses, and/or businesses within the following zip codes: 60609, 60615, 60616, 60619, 60621, 60637, 60649, and 60653.
  • We align with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, which ensures responsible purchasing to help preserve oceans and promote the use of sustainable seafood.
  • Most of the bread in the residential dining halls is purchased from Alpha Baking Company, a Chicago business.
  • 100 percent of our milk is purchased from Bareman’s Dairy in Holland, Michigan, 147 miles from Chicago.
  • We work closely with Cristina Foods, our produce distributor, to purchase locally grown produce in season. 
  • Our cheese is purchased from Belgioioso Cheese, located in Wisconsin.
  • 100 percent of our eggs are cage-free. 
  • We offer fair trade coffee options in most of our cafes and residential dining halls.
  • We support local MWBE (Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises), including Cristina, Tasteful Life, Little Miss Muffin, Saffron, Inc., Asian Provisions, and Noodles, Etc.

Waste Management

  • Leftover food is donated to the Pacific Garden Mission, in Chicago--the oldest rescue mission in the country.
  • We divert 100 percent of used fryer oil waste from the landfill through Kaluzny Brothers, Inc. In turn, the fryer oil is converted into biofuels. In 2013, we diverted over 11,000 pounds of fryer oil waste.
  • PRIMA, our food production system, helps our managers to accurately plan a menu and provide the kitchen staff with exact portion sizes and additional guidelines for reducing waste. It also tracks overproduction and then automatically adjusts menu forecasting the next time that item and menu mix are produced.
  • Our “tray inconvenience” program in the residential dining halls leads to less food being wasted and fewer dishes being put through the wash cycle.
  • Food scraps are put into an Eco-Digester.