Balanced Menus: A Pilot Evaluation of Implementation in Four San Francisco Bay Area Hospitals

This report describes a pilot evaluation of Balanced Menus program implementation in four San Francisco Bay Area hospitals: Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, the John Muir Health Medical Center, and one anonymous hospital. The hospitals vary in size as well as medical and food services provided, representing a broad range of possibilities for the program.

The four pilot hospitals set a variety of benchmarks and goals to try to accomplish the Balanced Menus aims. For example, one focused on adding fish and "combination dishes" to the menu, while another did not set a specific target but aimed to use saved money to increase purchasing of sustainably produced meats. This pilot investigation shows that the Balanced Menus program implementation across these four hospitals yielded substantial savings in costs and greenhouse gas emissions that exceeded the initial 20 percent reduction goal.