Sweetgreen, a brand that focuses on sustainability and health, put food waste in the spotlight—and in the bowl—with its latest promotion.
The wastED salad, created in collaboration with Blue Hill chef Dan Barber, brings together vegetable scraps that many restaurant staffs would simply toss.
The salad combines broccoli leaf, romaine heart, carrot ribbons, roasted kale stems, roasted broccoli stalks and cabbage cores, roasted bread butts, arugula, shaved parmesan, spicy sunflower seeds and pesto vinaigrette. Sweetgreen’s NYC locations will offer the $8.60 salad through September 28.
The Sweetgreen collaboration is a spinoff of a promotion Barber organized this past spring at his Greenwich Village eatery: regular WasteED pop-ups featuring various guest chefs (including the likes of Daniel Humm, Mario Batali, Alain Ducasse). The $85 prix fixe meals featured kitchen scraps and underused ingredients.
“inspired by Blue Hill chef Dan Barber’s wastED campaign, the Sweetgreen team wanted to take steps to be less wasteful. We turned to our suppliers and growers to see what ingredients we could recover back into our supply chain, and we reevaluated our ingredient prep. We took forgotten parts of the plant and we roasted them. We worked with our broccoli farmer to make use of the delicious, nutrient-dense broccoli leaves that are usually tossed. All of these ingredients (and more) come together in the wastED salad,” cofounders Nathaniel Ru, Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman wrote in a brochure explaining the move.
A Sweetgreen-produced video with Barber and Blue Hill culinary director Adam Kaye provides more insight into the process and the philosophy.
Don’t be surprised if the experiment eventually extends to all 29 Sweetgreen locations.
“The goal was to raise consciousness, but more importantly, to draw attention to the potential of these unheralded ingredients,” the brochure explains. “We hope to continue that process—demonstrating how to make better use of our ingredients in the kitchen, and ultimately changing perople’s perception of good food.”