How did it start?
We wanted to reduce the amount of meat that we use in our cooked lunches for environmental reasons and to give vegetarian and vegan students more options. The initiative is also aimed at raising awareness of the effect meat consumption has on the environment.
We first launched Meat Free Mondays in January 2019 by creating a month-long a campaign to help students and staff feel like part of the conversation. After almost 100 comments and menu suggestions, we ran a poll to find the most-wanted dish, and the winner was Gnocchi with Tomato and Basil, which took its place on our first Meat Free Monday menu!
How does it work?
On Mondays, all our main lunch options are vegetarian or vegan, including dishes such as curries, nachos with Quorn mince, vegan burgers and a selection of snack pots. Our soup is also vegan and we have a range of meat-free salad, sandwich and wrap options too.
Staff and students are still able to buy sandwiches and paninis that may include cold cuts of meat, but our main menu options for lunch are exclusively meat-free.
What difference does it make?
- Between January 2018 and January 2019, before Meat Free Mondays was introduced, 3,711 meat-free meals were sold on Mondays across all our campuses.
- Between January 2019 and January 2020, after we launched Meat Free Mondays, this increased to 8,629.
Thanks to Meat Free Mondays, we more than doubled the number of meat-free dishes sold on Mondays during the first year of the initiative!
Furthermore, the initiative has had a positive impact on the number of meat-free meals sold across the entire year. Between January 2019 and January 2020, we sold a total of 21,610 meat-free meals compared to 18,252 the previous year – an increase of 18%!
Is Meat Free Mondays here to stay?
Meat Free Mondays has become a permanent feature of our campus menus. The desire for more vegetarian and vegan options is something our students and staff have been vocal about. In our May 2019 catering survey, 14% of responses to the question “What could we improve on?” referred to adding more vegetarian and vegan options. This has given us the encouragement we need to continue with Meat Free Mondays.
What do our staff and students have to say?
Lorna Padden, Hospitality and Events Manager at Edinburgh Napier University
“Vegetarianism and Veganism is not a trend, it’s here to stay. We constantly review our menus and engage with everyone to ensure we are offering a good, varied and healthy balance. We have a dedicated catering inbox where we ask both students and staff to email us with suggestions and improvements. Our chef team are passionate about producing fresh fayre and introducing new food to all at the university. Our chefs share recipes, top tips about reducing waste and we recently introduced a plant-based menu to our daily hospitality, which has been well received. Meat Free Mondays are here to stay at Edinburgh Napier University.”
Ankit Duggal, Heloisa Fyfe and Nikhil Reddem - Edinburgh Napier Students' Association officers
“Meat Free Mondays has a bigger influence than just promoting vegetarianism at the University. What it does is get students and staff thinking about their eating habits and allows for debate, discussion, and reflection on the way we eat and impact the environment.”
Juki Inaba – Student Treasurer of Edinburgh Napier Sustainable Society
"I think Meat Free Mondays is a great initiative that shows everyone that a change into a more sustainable and environmental lifestyle doesn’t have to happen overnight and can be made in small steps and by reducing. It doesn’t feel like a big change to one person, but all students in the university who participate in this can be compared to small streams which eventually join into a big river that drives the change for the better."