The University of Portsmouth has joined a new scheme from Friends of the Earth to help university caterers fight climate change.
The Kale Yeah! Kitchens scheme, launching this month, encourage caterers to make their menus more sustainable by serving less, but higher welfare meat, dairy and fish and offering more plant-based options.
The scheme has five different levels of accreditation that encourage universities to rebalance dishes, incentivise plant-based eating via a loyalty card scheme and commit to promoting sustainability. Caterers will have to alter their procurement and menus and employ ‘nudges’ to inspire cultural, behavioural and attitudinal changes to the way we eat.
In reaching the higher levels, the university can ensure it is in line with Friends of the Earth and the Eating Better Alliance’s more ambitious target of a 50 per cent reduction in the amount of meat and dairy eaten and produced in the UK by 2030.
The University of Portsmouth trialled the Kale Yeah! scheme from September 2018 to May 2019, and is now a part of its launch, joined by Anglia Ruskin University, the University of Bristol, the University of Chester, Edinburgh Napier University, and the University of Winchester.
Nick Leach , Head of Catering Services said “We saw a marked increase in sales of both vegetarian and vegan food products across campus following the the trial of Kale Yeah! We were pleased to see that the offer was taken up by not only vegetarians and vegans, but also flexitarian students and staff looking to reduce their meat intake”
The Kale Yeah! trial had 1,238 individual participants, with a total of 16,656 vegetarian/vegan meals being sold through the scheme. Feedback from the trial found that the scheme made staff and students more likely to eat at a University café and choose a vegetarian meal.
Head of Catering Services at the University of Portsmouth, Nick Leach said: “We saw a marked increase in sales of both vegetarian and vegan food products across campus following the trial of Kale Yeah! We were pleased to see that the offer was taken up by not only vegetarians and vegans, but also flexitarian students and staff looking to reduce their meat intake.
“All students like a free meal so the loyalty worked well to reward the customers for switching to plant-based meals. It’s also raised the overall take up of non-meat products. We are very pleased to be working again this year with Friends of the Earth on this great initiative.”
By participating in this scheme, the University is helping to reduce the amount of meat and dairy eaten on campus in line with targets set out by government advisors. Globally, meat and dairy production accounts for 14.5 per cent of climate-changing emissions worldwide.
Clare Oxborrow, senior sustainability analyst at Friends of the Earth, said: “Recent stark warnings about our changing world can be difficult to digest. But instead of losing hope, we should instead use them as the momentum to strive for a healthier, thriving planet. There’s so much that can be done at every level of society to stop us hurtling towards climate chaos.
“The Kale Yeah! Kitchens programme is so exciting because it comes at a moment where people want to do their best by the planet, not least hungry, climate conscious students. By joining the scheme, university caterers can make impactful, yet simple changes to their menus and sourcing, enabling thousands of students to access sustainable, healthy and delicious food.
“There’s so much power in food, and we need to see leadership from the food service industry to curb climate and ecological breakdown. The contribution of those across the sector will be vital in the coming years, so it’s great to see enthusiasm from caterers who have already signed up to the scheme.”