Food, Drinks, Catering, Vending Machines

Industrial Consumer





Info on this product category: Food, Drinks, Catering, Vending Machines


Also try to be zero waste and:

  • Use reusable servingware, foodware and napkins (e.g., ones that caterers will takeback) or other less-toxic foodware
  • Use the least amount of packaging (ideally no cling wrap)

See the Zero Waste Event Checklist on how to comply with the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, such as where to donate leftover food.

Criteria for Food, Drinks, Catering, Vending Machines


The City is banned from buying non-alcoholic sugar-sweetened drinks with one or more added caloric sweeteners and contains more than 25 calories per 12 ounces. It does not include:

  • Milk
  • Milk alternatives, including but not limited to non-dairy creamers or beverages primarily consisting of plant-based ingredients (such as soy, rice or almond milk products), regardless of sugar content
  • Drinks containing solely 100% natural fruit juice, natural vegetable juice, or combined natural fruit juice and natural vegetable juice;
  • Drinks for infants (e.g., infant formula, infant rehydration)
  • Medical food
  • Drinks designed as supplemental, meal replacement, or sole-source nutrition that includes proteins, carbohydrates, and multiple vitamins and minerals
  • Oral nutritional therapy for person who may have a limited ability to absorb or metabolize dietary nutrients from traditional food or beverages
  • Drinks for weight reduction

City departments shall use their best efforts to ensure that all prepackaged food and beverages purchased using City funds meet these guidelines:

  1. Water should be made available and accessible. 
  2. Food should be served in smaller portions, where possible.
  3. Vegetarian or vegan options should be offered, where possible.
  4. Healthy food items should be served, such as:
  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat and low calorie foods, including low fat dairy and lean meats.
  • Protein sources and lower fat versions of condiments (e.g., salad 15 dressings. mayonnaise, cream cheese. sour cream dips).
  • Minimally processed foods that are made or produced without added sugar and are "low sodium" as that term is defined in Section 101.61 (b){4) of Title 21 of the 18 Code of Federal Regulations as amended.
  • Foods that are prepared by healthy cooking techniques such as baking, roasting, broiling. grilling, poaching, steaming, or stir frying instead of pan frying or deep fat frying.
  • Foods that contain less than 0.5 grams of transfat per serving. 

Prepackaged food in vending machines on City property shall meet the nutritional standards set forth below:

  1. Calories: No more than 200 calories per serving.
  2. Total Fat: No more than 35% of calories from fat.
  3. Saturated Fat: No more than one gram of saturated fat per serving.
  4. Trans Fat: No trans fat and no partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredients list.
  5. Sugar: No more than 35% of weight from total sugars.
  6. Sodium: No more than 240 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  7. Chips: No chips except for baked chips and pretzels.

The following prepackaged food sold in vending machines on City property are exempt: 

  1. Fruits and vegetables with no added salt, sugar, or fat.
  2. Nuts and seeds, including peanut butters and other nut butters, provided that a serving of nuts or seeds does not exceed 1.5 ounces.
  3. Plant based spreads, including but not limited to hummus, guacamole, and pesto dip.
  4. Low-fat, reduced fat, or fat-free cheeses, including light cream cheese. 


On Mondays, City-funded events should not serve meat or seafood.

All City funded events should have:

  • Locally produced and/or sustainably certified foods
  • Two or more raw vegetables and vegetarian options
  • Low calorie low-fat foods
  • Small portions (e.g. cut bagels in half)
  • Fat free or 1% milk, soy milk, 100% juice, water or tea (unsweetened)
  • Whole grain breads, rice or corn tortillas

City staff should avoid butter, cream sauces, fried foods, chips, fries.

Last updated

Last updated: 
March 4, 2019

Guide for City Staff

San Francisco created the:

  • First comprehensive food policy in 2009 for the City which addresses hunger, healthy food for City meetings and events, food production on City owned land and more.
  • Ordinance 99-15 barring the City and its contractors or grantees from selling or distributing sugar-sweetened beverages.

  • Ordinance 91-16 setting nutritional standards for food and beverages sold in vending machines on city property or served at city meetings and events.