UK university students vote for 100% plant-based menus
November 23, 2023
The University of Warwick is the latest UK university to remove meat and dairy from its student union.
The University of Warwick has become the eighth university in the UK to commit to plant-based catering after students voted for meat-free menus in their union. This shift was driven by the Plant-based Universities campaign, which is composed of students and professionals pushing for more sustainable catering in higher education.
“The climate emergency is the most pressing issue facing the world today.” said Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK. “So this is another huge stride in the right direction made by young people who are informed, empowered, and taking responsibility through their food choices. These Warwick students are climate leaders, make no mistake about that.”
“This is a wonderful example of young people realising that they are not powerless in the climate crisis, that they can actually make a difference every day simply through their food choices. It’s a movement that is gathering pace fast across the education sector, not just Universities but schools too, and it’s a privilege to support it.”
The students at the University of Warwick join those at the Universities of Stirling, Cambridge, Birmingham, Kent, London Metropolitan, Queen Mary University of London, and University College London in voting for 100% plant-based menus on campus. The full change will come into effect by the 2027-2028 academic year, with 50% of Warwick’s menu going plant-based between 2024 – 2025.
This monumental shift towards plant-based catering is driven by the climate and ecological emergencies facing us today. It is estimated that 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to animal agriculture, and with over 300 UK councils having declared a climate emergency, it comes as no surprise that students are shifting away from meat and dairy.
Vivek Venkatram, Plant-Based Universities Warwick Campaigner and President of Warwick’s Vegetarian and Vegan Society, said:
“We are delighted to see this straightforward and sensible motion pass with huge backing across the university today. Our campaign has received support from hundreds of students and staff members alike, and we are incredibly excited to work with our catering teams to create affordable, nutritious, and delicious menus for students.”
Plant-based catering is not only becoming a priority in universities, but also in primary and secondary schools. ProVeg UK’s School Plates programme supports thousands of UK schools to help them create healthier and more sustainable menus with plant-based food. The non-profit organisation has turned over 10 million school dinners meat-free, helping caterers encourage children to choose more sustainable options at lunchtime.
ProVeg UK offers free menu consultancy, recipe development and training workshops for school caterers to help increase the quantity and quality of plant-based meals. The non-profit is currently working with a quarter of local authorities in the UK covering more than 6,000 primary and secondary schools.