Progress towards less meat in public sector meals

A survey of 90 caterers, representing 5,000 public sector sites across the UK, has found that 80 per cent have committed to reducing meat content across menus.

Eating Better and PSC100 Group (Public Sector Catering) surveyed around 90 caterers, representing 5,000 sites across the UK, including schools, universities, hospitals, care homes and prisons.

Their research also found that 83 per cent of caterers have increased plant proteins (beans and lentils) in dishes by up to 20 per cent, while 60 per cent have been using more meat substitutes. Additionally, more than half said demand for red meat had dropped by up to a fifth and 60 per cent said there had been reductions in both pork and processed meat.

The main drivers of change are concerns about the climate (87 per cent), individual health (86 per cent) and nature loss (84 per cent).

The results of the survey reflect the momentum building behind meat reduction across the public sector and support the PSC100 initiative, launched just over a year ago, to reduce meat and dairy consumption by 20 per cent.

Simon Billing, executive director of Eating Better, an alliance of over 60 leading NGOs, said: "What we feed our children to nourish them while they learn, or to help patients recovering in hospital, really matters. The public sector must take the lead on eating better and our survey shows they're making good progress in serving climate and nature friendly food, with less red and processed meat and more veg, already on menus.”

Celebrity chef Prue Leith, who recently led a review into hospital food, said: “Improving the nation’s health and our sustainability has never been more important. The food we serve in our hospitals, schools and other public institutions should contribute to health and sustainability – and be a pleasure too.”

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