University canteens in Berlin go almost completely meat-free
Canteens and eateries across four universities in Berlin have changed their menus so that they offer mostly vegan or vegetarian options. The change comes after repeated requests from students for more climate-friendly culinary options.
Universities in Berlin go vegan
Students in Berlin will find canteens offering an entirely new menu from this winter, as canteens and cafes cut meat and fish options in favour of a more vegan / vegetarian diet. From October, 34 canteens and cafes across four universities in the German capital will offer a new menu that will replace more traditional German food with meals like buckwheat and spelt bowls, sweet potatoes and marinated beetroot, or tomato and cheese pasta bakes.
The new menu will reportedly be 68 percent vegan, 28 percent vegetarian and 2 percent fish, with just a single meat option available, four days a week. “We developed a new nutritional concept mainly because students have repeatedly approached us with the request for a more climate-friendly offer at their canteens,” said Daniela Kummle from Studierendenwerk, a state-run, non-profit organisation for student affairs and support in Germany.
Berlin students hungry for greens
Students in Berlin have demonstrated a distinct affinity for vegetarian and vegan food compared to the rest of the country. A 2019 survey found out that 13,5 percent of Berlin’s student population followed a vegan diet, compared to only 1,6 percent nationwide. On top of this, 33 percent of Berlin’s student population described themselves as vegetarian.
The trend towards plant-based menus has been growing in Berlin for a while. Since 2010, a canteen at the Free University of Berlin, aptly named Veggie No. 1, has only offered vegetarian food and, following its success, a vegan-only canteen, named Veggie No. 2, was opened in 2019. “The great success of the vegetarian and vegan canteens have made it clear that students’ consumer behaviour is changing,” said Kummle. “There’s a clear trend towards fewer animal-based products.”
Striving to protect the environment
Students in Berlin have demonstrated a keen interest in environmental matters and climate protection has been a particularly pressing issue. Both the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Technical University of Berlin have pledged to become climate neutral, by 2030 and 2045 respectively. On top of this, more than 300 staff across both universities signed a commitment in 2019 to forego short-distance flights relating to work for journeys under 1.000 kilometres.