30 Nov 2016
Icon - Health and Wellbeing
Nick Hughes, WWF

Green & Lean meals rolled out to 40 independent schools

This blog post was created by Nick Hughes who works as part of the food team at WWF-UK and leads our partnership with WWF to develop healthier more sustainable meals. Much of Nick’s work involves highlighting the challenges facing our current food system and working with progressive businesses and policy makers to help move us towards a more sustainable future.

Back in 2014 Sodexo and WWF set out to answer the question ‘how can we create meals that are tasty, healthier and good for the planet all at the same time?’ A little over two years later and we think we’ve got the answer. Green & Lean is a new range of meals from Sodexo that ticks all three boxes meaning whichever option the customer chooses they know they are getting a balanced, healthier meal that is sustainably sourced.

This month over 30 Green & Lean meals are being introduced to the independent schools sector and we hope the offer will be extended to new business segments in the months ahead.

But why have we created Green & Lean and what makes the meals better for us and for the planet?

The food we eat has a huge impact on the health of our planet and our own wellbeing – and not always in a good way. Intensive food production, and in particular livestock farming, is responsible for around a third of global greenhouse emissions and is a key driver of habitat destruction. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016 shows that populations of vertebrate animals—such as mammals, birds, and fish—have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012 with habitat loss and degradation identified as the most common threat to animals on the decline.

Our own Western diets high in meat, dairy and processed foods mean nearly two billion people globally are overweight or obese. At the same time access to food remains tragically unequal with approximately 1 billion people undernourished.

It’s for these reasons that Sodexo and WWF are working together to create healthier food options that have a lower impact on the environment. Green & Lean meals are based on the idea that by making simple switches, such as serving more wholegrains, vegetables and pulses, using dairy products lower in fat, and adding sugar and salt sparingly, we can deliver meals that are good for our health. And by selecting seasonal fruits and vegetables and sourcing certified and sustainable meat and fish we can serve up food that is better for our planet too.

Green & Lean meals are soon to launch in over 40 independent schools throughout the UK; in fact some schools such as Wellington College have already incorporated Green & Lean meals into their menus.

This follows a successful pilot a year ago in which almost 20,000 meals, containing more than a tonne of extra vegetables, were served to students. The meals include versions of popular dishes like Beef Lasagne and Chicken Biryani as well as brand new recipes, such as Beef and Vegetable Hotpot and Spicy Lamb and Carrot Burgers, created by Sodexo chefs to ensure they are balanced, responsibly sourced and crafted with healthier ingredients.

Green & Lean is the result of a collaboration between two organisations with a shared ambition to help people make healthier, more sustainable choices, and we believe that Sodexo’s market knowledge coupled with WWF’s expertise around food and the environment makes us effective partners.

Green & Lean is a genuinely industry-leading offer and Sodexo should feel proud to be a trailblazer in promoting more sustainable diets. But our work is far from done. The next question we must answer is how to make sure Green & Lean meals become the norm for Sodexo customers rather than the exception.

You can discover more about Green & Lean meals along with the challenges facing our food system by watching this short animation. And for more information on WWF’s work on food visit the website.

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