Small changes in public sector catering can have big direct impacts for health, environment and animal welfare. Changes can also more widely impact the food supply chain with positive knock-on outcomes for production, including creating a market for locally produced plant foods. In this article Jenny Canham of Four Paws shares with us how they are working with local authorities through their Make Food Kinder campaign.
The ‘Make Food Kinder’ campaign works towards the Better by half: roadmap action ‘to normalise sustainable diets through public procurement’. It’s no secret that the retail sector has been making huge progress in offering a growing selection of plant-based products - this is something that has grown exponentially over the past few years, to cater for growing health, environmental and animal welfare concerns. Unfortunately, local authorities in the UK are failing to take similar actions to tackle climate change despite being in the middle of an ‘environment and climate emergency.’ Four Paws say that it is time for local councils to start making commitments towards positive changes.
Eating Better's Better by half: roadmap sets out that public procurement policy should be consistent with healthy and sustainable dietary guidelines. Providing a number of short and long term benefits, including higher nutritional standards for meals served through public bodies, increased societal awareness about what a healthy and sustainable diet looks like, improved knowledge of the links between food and health and reduced healthcare costs.
Make Food Kinder aims to provide a greater choice of nutritious plant-based options in public settings, and with the comfort of knowing that animal welfare and sustainability has been taken into account with the food that is being provided.
Local Authority rankings
Four Paws ranked 151 local authorities throughout the UK according to how well they are doing on reducing the demand for meat and dairy, increasing the availability of plant-based alternatives and choosing higher welfare animal products. The findings were that less than 15% of local authorities currently have a food policy, which helps communicate their standards to caterers and others. Four Paws are calling on local authorities to be more transparent by adopting a policy that includes animal welfare and meat reduction commitments.
Overcoming obstacles to change
Four Paws recognise that budget can be a huge barrier for public institutions considering making food procurement changes. This is why we have created a budget report, which directly compares the price and nutrition values of plant-based protein and animal-based protein. By making small changes like offering one plant-based menu option per day, or going meat free for one day per week, public institutions can earn points on the Make Food Kinder ranking.
As with any diet, eating plant-based should be well planned in order to make sure we are getting all the key nutrients we need. This is why Four Paws have included nutrition information, detailing how animal-products can be replaced with plant-based alternatives while still meeting nutrition requirements. We have also included a variety of plant-based recipes that caterers can use and incorporate into their menus. With options such as pasta dishes, rice dishes, curries, salads and desserts, there is something for everyone and lots of ways that plant-based options can be added as a delicious alternative.
Thank you for your interest in Make Food Kinder! You can find more information about the campaign here, or if you have any queries or are aware of a public institution who is already doing great work, please contact us at email@example.com.