Clif Bar & Company’s Kali’s Kitchen, an employee-run sustainable café at Clif’s Emeryville headquarters, is the first to receive Gold certification in sustainability and nutrition from the United States Healthful Food Council’s (USHFC) non-profit organization Eat REAL. Eat REAL, or Responsible Epicurean Agricultural Leadership, holistically audits food service providers’ front and back operations, which includes sourcing, cooking practices, and menus options, using a points-based system. With a score above 85 percent, Kali’s Kitchen is the only Gold certified corporate food service nationwide, and the first food provider in the nation to receive this level of certification.
“At Clif, we believe in producing good food built with a purpose for our community. That’s why Kali’s Kitchen sources local ingredients, emphasizes in-house cooking practices, and aims to minimize our environmental impact,” said Scott Erickson, executive chef of Kali’s Kitchen. “We’re thrilled to be REAL Certified Gold and will remain committed to healthy, transparent, and sustainable food practices.”
Similar to LEED green building certification, the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance, and the Non-GMO Project, REAL Certification’s goal is to affect change in the food and food service industry. Eat REAL developed the REAL Certification to be a mark of excellence for food providers committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.
“Clif Bar has been at the leading edge of employee foodservice for years, through their private employee restaurant ‘Kali’s Kitchen,’” said Eat REAL COO, Caesare Assad. “Kali’s Kitchen provides an exceptional case study for how foodservice can be an integral part of company culture – impacting not only employees’ performance, but also the local food system at large.”
Eat REAL recently released their updated audit standards, which include an increased focus on animal welfare, enhanced survey objectivity, and a Silver/Gold/Platinum tiered scoring system. The audit was developed by a panel of academic, industry and government experts as well as chefs and restaurateurs and is conducted by REAL-registered dieticians.
Other food service establishments previously evaluated by Eat REAL include True Food Kitchen, NOPA Restaurant, Stanford University, and the University of San Diego, totaling to 500 different organizations nationwide. However, Clif Bar & Company is currently the only institutional food service provider to have completed the updated audit. This certification is intended to generate awareness and ignite a dialogue around the importance of building a healthy food system and establishing REAL food practices across the industry.
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