The Vegan Society is to launch a petition calling on the government to offer vegan options in public sector canteens in a bid to tend to the rising popularity of veganism in the UK.
According to recent data, the number of vegans in the UK has surged by 700 per cent in the last two years, with 3.5 million people in Great Britain now thought to be living on a plant-based diet.
The Vegan Society’s latest campaign, Catering for Everyone, will launch in August in the hope of making vegan food more accessible.
“By public sector canteens we mean places like hospitals, schools, prisons, universities, workplaces etc,” explains Dominika Piasecka, spokesperson for The Vegan Society.
“Basically anywhere where you go not out of choice but because you have to eat."
The charity hopes that by offering nutritious plant-based dishes, it will encourage non-vegans to also enjoy the offerings as an alternative to meat-based meals.
“As a patient in a hospital or as a university student you don’t always have a choice of where to eat, and it’s a problem if there are no vegan options,” Piasecka added.
“Veganism is protected under human rights and equality law, meaning vegans have the right to suitable, animal-free catering in public sector settings.
“It’s important to remember a vegan food option isn’t just for vegans - it often constitutes a safe dietary choice for everyone. We encourage people to get in touch with their local council, asking them to influence procurement across the public sector.”
There is already some vegan food available in UK hospitals thanks to Anglia Crown, who became the first hospital caterer to register its menu with the The Vegan Society’s vegan trademark.
Catering to 100 UK hospitals, Anglia Crown’s plant-based dishes include butternut squash curry, Moroccan vegetable tagine and pasta peperonata.
“We are lucky to live in a time where more and more companies, big and small, are creating delicious vegan options that would usually contain dairy, meat, eggs,” explains Louisa Davidsson Nyberg, organiser of Vegan Nights, an entire food and drink market dedicated to veganism.
“You still get the vital nutrients and proteins your body needs and this also makes it easier and helps non-vegans to adapt,” she told The Independent.
“Although most people choose plant based diets driven by their position on animal health and welfare, increasingly people are also motivated by other factors such as the environment, conscious living, health, allergies and food intolerances.”