The company is now serving food like mushroom burgers and quinoa in their cafeteria.
If you look at their website, you’ll see projects that tackle illegal fishing, air pollution, and deforestation to name a few. But the company wants to decrease their carbon footprint even more by changing the way their employees think about one food in particular: meat.
Google’s Sunnyvale campus has 14 different employee cafes that are each doing their part to decrease the amount of meat they serve on a daily basis. Research shows that raising livestock for meat, dairy, and eggs is responsible for 14.5 percent of global emissions. Additionally, since beef has the highest carbon footprint of any meat, Fast Company reports that Google is trying to reduce the amount of beef each employee consumes over other types of meat.
However, animal-protein is a complete source, containing the correct amount of essential amino acids our bodies can't synthesize on their own.
"It's possible to build complete protein from plant-based foods by combining legumes, nuts, and grains at one meal or over the course of a day. But you'll need to consume 20 to 25 percent more plant-based protein to reap the benefits that animal-derived sources provide," Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D., told Men's Health. "And beans and legumes have carbs that make it harder to lose weight."
Google isn't trying to guilt-trip staffers into going for vegan options right away—the company understands that few people are willing to make the jump from beef burgers to mushroom burgers right away.
“It’s moving people along a continuum, whether people are eating red meat every day and you ask them to start eating a little more white meat, or they’re already on a white meat kick and it’s a little bit more seafood, or moving even further along to alternative proteins or produce,” Scott Giambastiani, Google’s global food program chef and operations manager, told Fast Company.
So in an effort to get people thinking about what they’re eating, Google began developing plant-based “power dishes” back in January. The most popular recipe? A vegan taco that was taste-tested and approved by the company’s employees.
The tortilla, made from quinoa and broccoli, is filled with kimchi and Korean-spiced sautéed mushrooms, then topped with an avocado-cashew cream. It even won the grand prize at a competition on June 28, where dishes were judged based off its nutritional value, low greenhouse gas emissions, and overall taste.
And for non-Googlers who would like to give it a try, the winning taco recipe—along with other dishes from the competition—will be available on World Resources Institute’s website in September.