The United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC) has announced that four Guckenheimer operated cafés are the first contract foodservice operations in the nation to achieve the group's REAL (Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership) Certification. They are the Blue Glass Café at the John Hancock Building in Boston, Café Hive at Clorox Headquarters Pleasanton, CA, W6 Café at Google San Francisco and Union Pacific Café at Union Pacific Omaha.

The announcement, which concludes a six-month pilot program, was made at the first annual Menus of Change leadership summit, co-presented by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

REAL Certification started as an assurance of nutrition and sustainability best-practices in restaurants in Washington D.C., where the nonprofit USHFC is headquartered. These new REAL Certified locations mark the expansion of the program nationally, as well as with contract foodservice companies managing café operations in onsite environments.

“These companies should be lauded for taking a pioneering position as champions of nutrition and sustainability in the workplace,” says USHFC President Lawrence Williams. “With America’s increasing reliance on food prepared by others, the foodservice industry has unprecedented influence over dietary choices which, in turn, has profound impact on our nation’s health. Expanding REAL Certification into contract foodservice not only widens the scope of our message, but shows that nutrition and sustainability is not only good for consumers, but good for business.”

The pilot program began last December as Guckenheimer collaborated with accounts to undergo USHFC review. Utilizing a flexible points-based model similar to the LEED green building standard, USHFC’s registered dietitians audited and assessed the cafés across a range of criteria determined by USHFC’s Panel of Experts. Criteria included the utilization of vegetables, fruits and whole grains; healthful cooking and preparation methods; moderate portion sizes; behavioral components that encourage ‘better for you choices’; and sustainable practices for food sourcing.

“We thank USHFC’s bold efforts and the dedicated individuals at each account who have worked to make this certification a reality,” says Guckenheimer CEO Randall Boyd. “The shift to nutrition-centric food at work has tremendous impact for businesses that we are just beginning to quantify. We are at the tipping point where data will verify that employee health and productivity are inextricably linked, and food preparation, as well as its presentation, is a large component of that cycle. Guckenheimer’s core offering aligns with USHFC’s objectives and the foodservice industry should be ready to rise to the occasion.”