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What we do » Policy Work » Plant-Based Public Sector

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Schools, Hospitals, Workplaces:

Public Sector Plant-Based Power

Why is this important?

We’re on a mission to increase the provision of plant-based foods across schools, hospitals, local authorities and a range of other public sector organisations.

Diet is now the leading cause of ill health in the UK, with consumption of red meat and processed meats linked to a range of illnesses.

Meat has higher carbon emissions per kg than most other foods, particularly beef and lamb.

Elevated risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes in the UK can all be related (among other factors) to meat intake and as a nation we are eating far too much meat, with 43% of men and 26% of women eating more red and processed meat than the limit recommended for health by the UK’s scientific advisory committee for nutrition (SACN). 

And in environmental terms the average UK adult is eating double the amount required for planetary sustainability and health. 

What needs to happen?

The Vegetarian Society believes that the public sector has a significant role to play in helping to reduce the amount of meat people eat. Whether in a school, hospital or local authority setting, public sector organisations can take a lead in the provision of great tasting, low carbon, healthy plant-based foods and actively encourage people to try them.

And we believe that once people try great tasting plant-based alternatives to meat, they will be encouraged to adopt more plant-based foods within their everyday diets.

What is the Vegetarian Society doing?

We are calling for an increase in both the quality and quantity of plant-based foods served by a range of public sector organisations. Not only can this help deliver better health outcomes, it can also help organisations in achieving their climate action plan targets.

In the first instance we are planning to focus on schools. 

Through surveys, we have already established that in many case the plant-based offering in schools is generally poor, with low quality meals, lacking in nutrition. We intend to commission research aimed at assessing the role that plant-based foods can play within the school environment while still hitting the required nutritional targets required under the School Food Standards. This research will also review these standards, with a view to developing a revised set of standards which place greater emphasis on plant-based nutrition and net zero goals.

This will form the basis of a new policy focused campaign to be launched in 2024. Watch this space!

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