Workers eat at a Google cafe.

(Courtesy of Google)

Google has a worldwide reputation for hiring brainy people to do big things. To attract them, the company offers a lot of perks -- including three free meals a day. That means Google feeds about 110,000 people a day, in 56 countries.  That will soon expand to include the company’s new campus in Boulder, with more than 1,000 employees. The man who oversees the operation is Michiel Bakker, director of Google Food.

Bakker says menus vary by location and by employees' (they're called "googlers") tastes. On any given day, a worker at the company's Mountain View, California headquarters might sample anything from New American food to different ethnic cuisines at one of dozens of spots on the campus. Overseas menus cater to local food traditions and to religious and cultural restrictions.

For all the variations, though, there are some common themes: Google encourages healthy eating -- you can still get pizza, but you’ll likely find it at the end of the buffet line -- and Bakker spends a lot of time thinking about sustainability and tradeoffs. Should the company buy organic apples, or choose conventional ones and have more available for employees? With water consumption a global issue, is it better to cut back on use in the kitchen or buy less meat and milk, since raising cattle requires lots of water?

Bakker is in Boulder this week for the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado. He spoke to Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.