“You’ve eaten Compass food, you just didn’t know it was Compass,” says the company’s North America CEO, Gary Green. He’s probably right: Under some two dozen brands and companies, the Compass Group serves millions of meals a day at its cafeterias at schools, stadiums, museums, and corporate and government offices nationwide. Compass has been wielding its enormous reach to introduce new food brands and concepts into the mainstream—and prove that sustainability can scale in the food industry.
It worked with the Global Animal Partnership to commit to serving humanely raised meat, and supplemented its vegetarian offerings through deals with plant-based food companies including Impossible Foods, known for its meatless (yet “bloody”) Impossible Burger, and Hampton Creek, the startup behind the egg-free Just Mayo and eggless scrambled “eggs.” Over the next three years, Compass will also introduce celebrity chef José Andrés’s fare to new locations nationwide via a partnership with ThinkFoodGroup, the engine behind his popular fast-casual, vegetable-centric Beefsteak restaurants.
Compass is also championing efforts to reduce food waste (it has pledged to cut its own by 25% by 2020), and it supports the use of less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables throughout its massive food-service operation. With hundreds of thousands of employees and nearly $17 billion in revenue last year, Compass has a “responsibility to lead,” says Green. “We’ve got the scale to put a large investment into how the future looks.”