Sodexo & WWF-UK puts tackling climate change on school menus with Plant+ by Finer Diner

Sodexo has developed Plant+ by Finer Diner in conjunction with WWF-UK to help children and young adults understand how small changes in their diets can make a huge difference to the health of the planet.

Plant+ by Finer Diner is more than just sustainable meals, it is about raising awareness that simple changes in food choices make a big difference on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). 

If everyone in the UK ate one plant-based meal once a week, GHG would reduce by 50 million tonnes, it is simple, yet powerful messages like this that are central to Plant+ in its drive to encourage behavioural change among students and staff, and by taking these messages home; their families too.

With the strapline ‘Let’s change the world. One meal at a time’, Plant+ includes new delicious plant-based dishes based on popular, traditional meat-based meals and inspired by the Future 50 Foods report published by Knorr Professional and WWF-UK in 2019.

The Plant+ menu has been developed with a focus on seasonal, locally-sourced dishes using 100% plant-based ingredients, all recipes are mindful of dietary requirements and are low in sugar, salt and fat.

Main meal options include vegan burgers, chickpea and spinach curry; puy lentil soft shell tacos, falafel & sweet potato hummus wraps and veggie lentil sausage rolls. For pudding, Plant+ will include berry buckwheat crumble, seeded fruit flapjacks, chocolate and kale brownies and vegan doughnuts.

Plant+ has initially been launched at 16 schools including Sodexo and Alliance in Partnership operated state secondary schools and independent schools.

As part of Plant+ each school has a teacher and student ambassador to help the catering teams raise awareness of the new sustainable plant-based meals in class and at mealtimes.  The Ambassadors are driving a pledge campaign, asking for everyone to make at least one plant-based pledge and to help encourage uptake of the Plant+ meals they are also holding sampling sessions.

David Mulcahy, food innovation & sustainability director, Schools & Universities, Sodexo UK said: “Never before has a generation been so engaged in climate change, and food is at the heart of many environmental issues. We have developed Plant+ to raise awareness of the small changes that can be made in their everyday life that will have a positive impact on reducing greenhouse gases.

“We are not simply adding plant-based dishes to the school menus, we are encouraging the whole school community to engage, discuss and take action through a range of activities and initiatives that go beyond serving delicious school meals. We are looking forward to working with our student and teacher ambassadors as they help us share the message that we can make a difference one meal at a time.”

Finer Diner was developed with WWF-UK in 2019, initially it ran as a pop-up diner visiting a number of Sodexo-operated university campuses to encourage students to try plant-based versions of their favourite dishes.

Plant+ by Finer Diner aims to bring sustainable eating to the heart of school life, it has been developed to inspire everyone to take an active role in a shift towards more plant-based diets.

Marie Dillon, Principal at Oasis Academy Oldham said: “We are enjoying the delicious new plant-based options at mealtimes and using the resources Sodexo has provided we are able to use the school meal service as a way to bring to life the impact food choices have on the environment.”

Year 9 Student Plant+ student ambassador at Oasis Academy Oldham said: “I am really enjoying learning about the impact food and the choices we make have on the environment. There is a real buzz in the school and lots of people are willing to try the new plant-based dishes when we run taster sessions. I hope this will help them make the right choices at mealtimes.”

Sodexo has been working in partnership with WWF globally since 2010 to address key environmental priorities including carbon reduction, responsible sourcing, food waste and sustainable eating.

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