Begin School Food Standards’ climate update now, says ProVeg UK
November 5, 2021
ProVeg UK calls for immediate review, not by 2025 as proposed, following the DfE’s draft strategy published today
Today’s announcement of the upcoming review of the School Food Standards to reflect the impact of food emissions on the environment has been welcomed by ProVeg UK, who also call for the review to begin immediately rather than by the proposed 2025.
The Department for Education has today published its Sustainability and Climate Change Draft Strategy for Education and Children’s Services Systems, outlining (on page 22) the proposed update of the School Food Standards – as late as 2025. The strategy is due to become final in April 2022.
School Food Standards updated in this way would mean a shift to more sustainable plant-based foods in schools and less reliance on animal products, typically the most carbon-intensive foods we eat.
Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK, said: “It’s great to see the Government recognising the climate impact of food in schools. But given that the overriding message coming out of COP is one of urgency – with the Prime Minister himself urging the world to ‘act now’ – how can we delay the sustainability review of school food for another three years? We need to get started right away.
“We’re ready to work on the revised standards with the Government, who can rest assured that the shift to eating more plant-based foods and less meat in schools is already in full flow. We’re working with lots of local authorities and catering companies on menu changes that are being received overwhelmingly positively by children and parents.”
As part of its School Plates programme, ProVeg UK is currently working with 25 major caterers covering more than 2,000 schools serving close to 300,000 children every day. ProVeg UK uses the latest research to nudge children towards healthier and more sustainable options, and has developed 35 plant-based recipes created specifically for schools, each with its own carbon rating.
Today’s news comes after the Climate Change Committee last year recommended a 20% shift away from all meat and dairy by 2030 (rising to 35% by 2050) in order to put the UK on the path to net zero. Earlier this year, the National Food Strategy went further, recommending that we eat 30% less meat, 20% more fruit and vegetables, and 50% more fibre by 2032.
Pierson added: “It’s not just about climate change and the environment: eating more plant-based foods can really benefit the health of school children. Plant-based foods are packed with nutrients and fibre that we all need to thrive. They are low in fat and calories, and they lower the risk of chronic diseases, including childhood obesity, one of the most serious public health challenges we face.”
For more information or to ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW please contact:
Jimmy Pierson, Director, ProVeg UK
+44 7931 819 508
About ProVeg UK
ProVeg UK is part of ProVeg International, a global food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
School Plates is the flagship programme of ProVeg UK, who works with local authorities, catering companies and schools, offering a range of different services to increase the uptake of existing vegetarian meals, and to increase the quantity and quality of plant-based food in schools.
ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. www.proveg.com