America’s Biggest Corporations Offer Vegetarian Options
It’s a cold winter day, and those employees who haven’t yet kicked the habit are huddling outside the building exits to finish off that last bit of meatloaf before going back into their meat-free building. A fantasy? Maybe. But American businesses are looking for ways to encourage good health in the workplace. They already favor nonsmokers’ rights and save a bundle every time a CEO who might have been felled by cancer or emphysema escapes these diseases. Well, who are the healthiest and more consistent employees of all? No question about it. Vegetarians are much less likely to lose time from work or to require medical treatment, compared to meat-eaters.
Big businesses are providing vegetarian options like never before. PCRM contacted cafeterias at 20 of the largest corporations in the U.S. to determine the availability of low-fat and vegetarian foods for lunch.
While some offer little more than a salad bar, most have a wide range of healthful choices that were not offered even a few years ago.
Here are the rankings of America’s biggest businesses, according to the number of low-fat and vegetarian foods available through the week:
1. Chrysler (Auburn Hills, Mich.): Every day, diners can choose among veggie burgers, veggie pizzas (prepared without cheese on request), a salad bar, a fruit bar, whole fruits, steamed side vegetables with no added fat, and a vegetable plate. Once a week, a pasta bar is available. Every other week, the cafeteria offers a baked potato bar and a “vegetarian delight” bar with veggie chili, stir-fried vegetables (available oil-free), fresh vegetables, steamed rice, beans, and pita bread. Occasionally, a high-fiber, cholesterol-free entrée, such as fettuccine with tomato, basil, and zucchini, is also available.
2. General Motors (Detroit, Mich.): Fresh veggie subs, veggie burgers (three flavors), a salad bar, fruits, garden salads, steamed side vegetables, a vegetable plate (choice of side vegetables), steamed red potatoes, and low-fat rice dishes, such as steamed rice or rice pilaf, are available daily. A baked potato bar is available once a week, and high-fiber, cholesterol-free entrées, such as red beans and rice or stir-fried rice and vegetables, are available about once a week.
3. Texaco (White Plains, N.Y.): Veggie burgers, a salad bar, low-fat and cholesterol-free soups (such as vegetable rice soup), roasted vegetable sandwiches (such as roasted portobello mushroom sandwich), whole and cut fruits, and fresh steamed vegetables without added fat are available daily. Pasta with meat-free tomato sauce or a rice dish is offered daily as well. Veggie chili, veggie paella, or other healthy vegetarian entrées are served about once a week.
4. Sears Roebuck (Hoffman Estates, Ill.): Veggie burgers, a stir-fry bar, grilled vegetable sandwiches on request, a salad bar, fresh fruits, and baked potatoes are available daily. A salad tossed with pasta is occasionally available. Pasta with marinara sauce is served daily, but the pasta usually contains eggs. A baked potato bar is offered approximately every two weeks.
5. Procter & Gamble (Cincinnati, Ohio): A salad bar, baked potatoes, fresh fruits, and a “Treat Yourself Right” station with steamed vegetables and rice, pasta, or other starches—all with no added fat—are available daily. Grilled vegetable sandwiches can be prepared at customers’ request. Occasionally, veggie chili, grilled vegetables with baked potatoes, or other cholesterol-free entrées are also available.
6. AT&T (Basking Ridge, N.J.): Veggie burgers, a salad bar, a baked potato bar, fruits, and hot vegetables without added fat are available daily. A low-fat, cholesterol-free soup, such as minestrone, is often available. Other vegetarian options, such as ratatouille, are occasionally served.
7. Wal-Mart Stores (Bentonville, Ark.): Veggie burgers, a salad bar, a baked potato bar, fruits, and hot vegetables with no added fat are available daily. Occasionally, a low-fat, cholesterol-free entrée, such as a bean burrito, is available.
8. Ford Motor Company (Dearborn, Mich.): A hot vegetable bar with steamed vegetables and beans is available daily and usually includes low-fat, cholesterol-free entrées, such as mixed bean stews. A salad bar and fresh fruits are also available daily. Vegetarian soups, rice dishes, and pasta or bean salads are sometimes available as well.
9. Philip Morris (New York, N.Y.): Veggie burgers, a salad bar, whole and cut fruits, and steamed vegetables are available daily. Rice dishes are served daily, but some are not low-fat and vegetarian. Meat-free pasta sauce is available daily, but pasta dishes sometimes contain eggs or cheese. Stir-fried vegetables with tofu, baked potatoes, and other vegetarian dishes are occasionally offered.
10. General Electric (Fairfield, Conn.): Daily offerings include veggie sandwiches made to order, such as grilled portobello mushroom sandwiches, a salad bar, fresh fruits, and hot vegetables steamed or cooked in minimal olive oil. Usually, cholesterol-free entrées and soups, such as roasted vegetables with Mediterranean couscous and split pea soup, are served. Occasionally, stir-fry bars and baked potato bars are offered.
11. Pepsico (Purchase, N.Y.): Veggie burgers, a salad bar, fruits, and steamed side vegetables are available daily. Low-fat, cholesterol-free entrées, such as veggie chili, are served less than twice a week. Although rice dishes are served daily, some dishes contain butter. A baked potato bar is offered once or twice a month. Although pasta is available daily, it contains eggs.
12. Kmart (Troy, Mich.): The cafeteria provides a salad bar, fresh fruits, steamed side vegetables with no added fat, and a vegetable plate daily. Rice is often available, and a low-fat, cholesterol-free entrée, such as stuffed peppers, is occasionally served. Baked potato bars are available every other week.
13. State Farm (Bloomington, Ill.): Fresh veggie sandwiches, a salad bar, and fresh fruits are available daily. Three times per week, the cafeteria serves a plant-based entrée, which is often low-fat and cholesterol-free, such as vegetable stir-fry. Throughout the month, the cafeteria rotates numerous theme bars which offer low-fat, cholesterol-free options, such as baked potato bars, stir-fry bars, and vegetable bars.
14. Hewlett-Packard (Palo Alto, Calif.): Veggie burgers, a salad bar, fruits, and hot vegetables without added fat are available daily. A high-fiber, cholesterol-free entrée, such as bean stew, is served about twice a week.
15. Metropolitan Life Insurance (New York, N.Y.): Veggie burgers, a salad bar, steamed vegetables without added fat, and fresh whole and cut fruits are available daily. A vegetarian soup, such as veggie chili or split pea soup, is available daily and is usually low-fat and cholesterol-free.
16. Exxon (Irving, Texas): Daily choices include a salad bar, fresh fruit, numerous hot vegetables with no added fat, and a vegetable plate (choice of four of the hot vegetables). Occasionally, a low-fat, cholesterol-free entrée, such as couscous with roasted vegetables, is available.
17. International Business Machines (IBM) (Armonk, N.Y.): Veggie burgers, a salad bar, fruits, and steamed vegetables are available daily. Vegetarian entrées are offered once every few weeks. Pasta is available daily but contains eggs.
18. Mobil (Fairfax, Va.): A salad bar, fruits, baked potatoes, and steamed vegetables with no added fat are offered each day. Ratatouille, pasta primavera, or other vegetarian choices are served about twice a week. Low-fat, cholesterol-free soups, such as vegetarian lentil soup, are occasionally available.
Citibank and Prudential Insurance declined to provide information.