HSUS, HSI work with corporations, schools, and hospitals to add delicious plant-based options to menus
Whether through our successful campaigns to end the worst factory farming practices by law, or our corporate partnerships to eliminate the use of eggs and meat from caged animals, The HSUS and Humane Society International have together been a force in moving the needle for animals caught up in our global food system. But there’s no way to achieve the reforms that we aspire to while maintaining current levels of consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy, in the United States or in emerging global markets, which have some of the largest farm animal populations and where more people are consuming animal products than ever before.
Here in the United States and around the world we have programs that partner with some of the largest institutions that serve food—schools, hospitals, universities, the military and more—to help them add more plant-based options to menus and reduce their overall meat purchases. In recent months, we have further expanded our work in countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa, in order to make an even bigger impact. In addition to providing technical assistance via recipes, sample menu ideas, and nutritional advice, we also offer hands-on culinary training for institutions, all free of charge.
In the United States, we’ve partnered with the largest food service companies, like Compass Group and Aramark, to train their chefs on plant-based culinary techniques, helped some of the most prestigious universities add more plant-based options to their menus and reduce meat purchases, teamed up with hundreds of school districts to start programs like Meatless Monday, and even trained military institutions and penitentiary systems on plant-based cuisine. The results have been tremendous.
In one case, we worked with the University of Pittsburgh, which has set a goal of reducing animal-based products by 25 percent by 2025. Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, modified all the desserts it serves on campus to be totally plant-based. And we trained 1,300 K-12 school food service employees on how to prepare delicious meat-free meals in 2017 alone at school districts from Florida to New York and Oregon to Southern California.
Our international work is just as impressive. Just last month HSI Canada trained chefs at two prominent Canadian institutions, the University of Guelph and Queen’s University. The trainings were so well-received that not only have seven other Canadian universities already requested that our team train their staff members, but the University of Guelph has committed to transition 20 percent of its meat purchases to plant-based proteins. February also saw HSI Africa’s institutional culinary training program teaming up with the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa to launch its new plant-based program at all six of its residence dining halls, converting one of the dining halls to 100 percent plant-based every Monday. This is the first dining hall in Africa to offer students exclusively plant-based dishes.
HSI’s Forward Food team in Brazil works with school districts throughout that country to reduce meat, dairy, and egg consumption by 20 percent. Just last year, HSI convinced 10 school districts in Brazil to commit to serving exclusively plant-based meals at all public schools at least one day a week. HSI Brazil’s culinary training programs are key to ensuring the long-term success of these programs, which will impact tens of millions of meals a year.
In the United Kingdom, our Forward Food program is going strong and stimulating higher demand for plant-based food. We’ve delivered a total of 17 culinary workshops, training more than 122 chefs at some of the U.K.’s most prestigious universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, as well as chefs at three food service companies responsible for feeding millions of meals daily, and a college training future culinary leaders.
In Asia, which holds the largest population of farm animals in the world and has the greatest projected rise in egg, meat, and milk consumption, we’re expanding our culinary training programs and working with restaurants, schools, and governmental institutions throughout the region to shift to more plant-based eating.
Our culinary trainings are just one tool to stem the rise in meat consumption globally. In the European Union, we’re actively lobbying Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission to influence the EU legislative and regulatory agenda and accelerate the shift towards healthier, more sustainable, plant-based food systems; incorporate meat reduction goals into health, climate, agricultural, and procurement policies and regulations; and to create a friendly regulatory environment for plant-based food companies. In India, HSI has formed partnerships with prestigious institutes to research cultured meat and plant-based alternatives.
In the day-to-day campaigning we’re engaged in, it’s helpful to pause and take in the progress that’s being made. We should feel quite optimistic and it’s because of so many of my amazing teammates throughout the world that change is coming. Through this lifesaving work — for humans, who reap benefits to their health on plant-based diets, and animals — we’re transforming the global food system, one delicious meal at a time.