Serving Earth-friendly Foods at Events


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Plant-based foods can add a delicious, healthy and environmentally conscious experience to any event. By serving plant-based and plant-forward menus, events can offer better food, meet the dietary needs of attendees, and bring sustainability to the table.



Bringing menus in line with a venue, host or event’s values provides an exciting opportunity to make an event successful, memorable and appetizing — all while reducing its environmental footprint.


What Is an Earth-friendly menu?

foodprint menu

Plant-based foods require less land and water, generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions and pose fewer threats to wildlife compared to foods derived from animal products, making them the Earth-friendly choice.


An Earth-friendly menu offers plenty of diverse and delicious plant-based options and reduces offerings and portions of meat, dairy, eggs and seafood. When possible, ingredients are locally and organically sourced.


Steps to Serving Sustainability

Serve at least one plant-based meal.

  • Begin with breakfast: offer plant-based dairy alternatives at coffee stations, serve plant-based cream cheeses with bagels, plant-based yogurts, fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Lunches are easy: swapping lunch items is as easy as veggie sandwiches, salads, and a plant-based soup, or a delicious pad thai, veggie tacos, or veggie wrap.
  • Dinners made memorable: guests will love fresh and flavorful meals with or without meat.

    Double your plant-based options.

    • Explore diversity in foods people already enjoy that are easily made plant-based, like lasagna, burritos, pasta, tacos and sandwiches. Swapping a veggie burger for a beef burger can save 90-95% more water, land, and greenhouse gases for example.
    • Choose cultural favorites from cuisines that already offer a variety of plant-based dishes, like Indian, Mediterranean, Chinese, Thai or Mexican.
    • Substitute common meat-heavy staples like beef, poultry and seafood dishes with vegetarian versions such as pasta with vegetables, black-bean tacos or tofu scrambles.


    Default to veggie menu.

    • Switch it up: Instead of making plant-based options available only by request, offer a plant-based menu by default. Guests can opt in to meat or dairy options by request.
    • Ensure every meal has at least one plant-based main course (no meat or dairy).
    • Plant-based menus help you better meet your guests’ dietary, religious and ethical concerns — and when you serve delicious, hearty dishes, many people don’t even notice.

      Celebrate Sustainability.

      • Work with local venues and caterers that are happy to make plant-based menus your guests will enjoy.
      • Display event materials that help promote the benefits of your event’s sustainable menus.



        We Can Help

        The Center for Biological Diversity offers resources to help you serve Earth-friendly menus from start to finish. We can provide you with menu calculations and analysis to promote your event’s carbon savings and offer supporting promotional materials for guests, as well as connect you with venues and catering companies to make your event a success.


        Working with partners like Animal Place we can connect you to grants for making your events more sustainable and protecting our natural resources, wildlife and biodiversity.


        Interested in offering Earth-friendly meals at your events? Contact us for more information.


        This project was funded with support from VegFund.


        Photo credits: Top: side-by-side photos of catered veggie burger/people holding plates of food courtesy of Nick Klein / The Good Food Institute. Bottom: side-by-side photos of people in catered food line/people talking courtesy of Nick Klein / The Good Food Institute.