9 Factors Defining Sustainable Break Rooms in 2023

At Canteen, we’re committing to being better stewards of the environment. Sustainability is a core part of our strategy, what we stand for, and what we offer as a company. Our Sustainability Platform centers around purpose – How do our offerings support communities and people where we live and conduct business, and how are we leaving the planet much better than we found it? It truly is a journey, but here are some of the exciting ways that we are building a better breakroom:

  1. Food WasteJoin the Stop Food Waste Day fight.

A third of all food produced globally goes to waste every year. In context, if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-producing country globally. And that’s why Compass Group, together with some of the most influential companies and celebrity chefs, is rallying millions of consumers to accelerate the fight against food waste with Stop Food Waste Day™. Our culinary teams are tracking waste and creating innovative menus using our proprietary waste reduction tool, Waste Not, to track and measure waste over time. Soon we’ll be able to forecast and dynamically schedule our fresh food production to produce exactly what’s needed, nothing more.

  1. Driving the Future

By implementing programs focused on fleet efficiency and driver safety, we have avoided nearly 8,000 metric tons of carbon emissions in the last two years. And we’re not stopping there. We continue to proactively seek, test, and evaluate technology to improve the efficiency of our fleet.

On top of avoided emissions, in 2020, we wrote about our plan for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs):

The long-term vision for our fleet includes alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) like electric trucks. The problem? We want something that doesn’t exist yet – but it’s in the works! In the coming years, we hope to be testing AFVs that meet our fleet’s needs, along with an infrastructure to support it. In the meantime, we look for other ways to reduce our fleet’s impact on the environment.

Now, in 2023, we’ve made an enormous leap forward by piloting electric delivery trucks in select markets.


  1. Circular Approach to Waste

Just over 32 percent of recyclable materials were recycled in 2018, the latest year with complete data. But only nine percent of plastics were recycled. Why? A combination of limited consumer education on the correct process and a confusing recycling infrastructure makes recycling a task too ambiguous for many to understand. We aim to simplify that for our clients. We offer a suite of customizable solutions focusing on a more circular approach to waste. In that order, a circular approach is a system of strategic resource utilization where reduction, reuse, and recycling are the focus. The goal is to minimize waste and create a closed-loop system.

  1. Driving Social Change with Local and Diverse Product

Canteen is proud to partner with an array of suppliers, utilizing a wide range of local products and diverse items that support the communities our clients serve. Through intentional sourcing programs, we are committed to expanding these programs beyond just supplying snacks – we aim for meaningful partnerships in which both parties can benefit from mentorship and collaboration through all stages of growth. Beyond providing sustenance, proudly showcasing their stories so your team recognizes how much more meaningful a breakroom snack can be as an expression of employer commitment. We partner with over 120 certified diverse suppliers across the country and have a pipeline to bring even more on board. From deliciously roasted coffee beans to salty treats and sweet snacks, we have something made by everyone, for everyone.

  1. Health and Wellness 

We are committed to providing our customers with the information needed to make informed choices when it comes to their food. Choice Plus is a customizable program designed by our registered dietitians and culinary experts to include the most popular products that meet criteria supported by the latest nutrition research and in line with government and expert nonprofit organization guidelines.

Over the past couple of years, Canteen has worked with the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) and The Alliance for a Healthier Generation in the development of a public health initiative.

From refreshing teas and sparkling waters to fulfilling tasty snacks, our selection of better-for-you options continues to grow to meet the consumer’s needs.

  1. Bulk Snacks Bulk Snacks

Last year, we revolutionized 420,000 pounds of snacking with bulk foods, eliminating single-use packaging from office breakrooms and displaying our commitment to creating a more eco-friendly consumer experience. We are continuously exploring new ways to upgrade the snack game while taking resourcefulness into account.

  1. Sustainable Sourcing

For more than a decade, Compass Group has strived to make positive changes within the realm of sustainability by supporting local economies, sourcing sustainable seafood, implementing measures to address climate change issues, and much more. Over the years, we have made various sustainability commitments, from sourcing sustainable seafood to only purchasing foods produced with minimal use or free of chemicals and antibiotics. Our craft coffee and specialty tea experts at Tradecraft pride themselves on working with the best craft roasters in the country, and their definition of best starts with being environmentally and socially responsible. When exploring potential new roasters, they go beyond ensuring great flavor; they make sure the roasters demonstrate integrity and transparency in their sourcing practices. To that end, sustainable sourcing does not stop with our food. We partner with companies like Bevi who provide innovative dispensed water solutions that minimize environmental impact.

  1. Equipment

To ensure our markets meet our eco-friendly standards, racks and shelving are constructed using a higher percentage of recycled materials and manufactured right here in the U.S. As for equipment, Energy Star-rated components minimize our energy footprint whenever available. Other proactive measures include LED lighting fixtures, sleep cycling options, temperature monitoring systems, and connectivity to reduce onsite servicing requirements wherever feasible.

  1. Disposables 

Today’s consumer is better informed and more aware of the impact single-use items have on the environment. We are committed to reducing our impact by providing sustainable alternatives to single-use disposables. To date, we have eliminated all plastic stir sticks in favor of wooden alternatives and adopted the nationwide “Skip the Straw” campaign. We offer a range of sustainable disposables, from compostable items to post-consumer fiber to recycled plastic. We work with our clients to provide disposable solutions tailored to their sustainability goals and capabilities.


Our sustainability mission is to deliver better breaks that are better for you and better for the environment because it’s the right thing to do. And this is just scratching the surface of what we’re building. Our goal is to work with each client and their unique needs and infrastructure to accelerate serious change in the industry, supply chain, and operations to ensure we build a stronger and cleaner future for Canteen and our customers.

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