UK’s schools, hospitals, universities, and care homes have pledged to remove up to 20 per cent meat from the menus.
The initiative aims to reduce environmental impact and improve public health by shifting the menus away from meat and dairy products.
Public sector caterers serve billions of meals a year that are eaten by a quarter of the UK population.
Meat consumption in westerns countries, including Britain, is too high and has a negative impact on the nation’s health.
Numerous studies have also shown that meat consumption must be reduced to tackle climate emergency.
This unprecedented move will remove 9m kg of meat from meals every year, and save approximately 45,000 cows and 16 million chickens.
It will also save 200,000 metric tons of carbon emissions which is the same effect as removing more than 400,000 cars from the roads for a year.
The #20percentlessmeat pledge was announced in the trade magazine Public Sector Catering.
The pledge is possible thanks to an agreement reached between a collaborative group of public sector caterers Public Sector Catering 100 (PSC 100) and Humane Society International UK.
“The biggest rise we are seeing is those demanding a more plant-based diet, the current figures are astonishing,” Craig Smith, chair of PSC 100-member organization Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), said.
“This demand cannot be ignored, neither can the claims that meat production contributes to climate change and the addition of nitrites into processed meats can cause harmful effects in the long-term.”
The #20PercentLessMeat initiative will be promoting meat-free days, vegan and vegetarian dishes and directly replacing meat with plant-based alternatives.
“We are delighted at such a strong commitment to reduce the food industry’s impact on the environment, human health, and animals. The boom in plant-centric cuisine in restaurants and supermarkets has been no secret in recent years, so the PSC100 Group’s decision is timely, bringing public sector catering into alignment with consumer demand,” Humane Society International UK Executive Director Claire Bass said.
“The environment and climate benefits of consuming less animal products couldn’t be clearer. A 20-percent meat reduction across schools, hospitals, care homes, universities, and other UK institutions will also help improve human health, reducing burden on the National Health Service, as well as saving millions of animals from suffering on factory farms every year.”