No more beef in the canteens at several educational institutions

In collaboration with the service provider Compass Group, several educational institutions have chosen to completely stop serving beef, which has a climate impact 10 times higher than, for example, pork and chicken.

Since the beginning of this school year, several educational institutions have taken a significant step to reduce their CO2 emissions by permanently discontinuing the serving of beef. These institutions include Søndre Campus at the University of Copenhagen, Syddansk Universitet, the Technical University of Denmark, Københavns Professionshøjskole, Roskilde Festival Højskole, SOSU Esbjerg, and Randers Social- og Sundhedsskole. In the field of education, Compass Group operates a variety of cafeterias and canteens under the Food & Co concept. According to Esben Luplau, the Marketing Manager for the education sector, their experience shows that as a service provider in the cafeteria sector, beef can easily be replaced with other types of meat and vegetarian dishes, without compromising the quality of the offerings or the satisfaction of the guests. “As Denmark’s largest canteen operator in the education sector, we have an inherent opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable development. In Food & Co, we have been focused on reducing our purchases of particularly climate-intensive products for several years. Therefore, we are very positive about seeing even more of our customers make a consistent decision to permanently eliminate beef,” Esben Luplau says.

Support from the students
Søndre Campus at the University of Copenhagen has not served beef since 2020. This was done as an experiment with the name ”The Cow on Vacation”. Faculty Director Kristian Boye sees no reason to resume this service “I don’t recall a single objection from either the students or the staff, when we, together with Compass Group, stopped serving beef three years ago”, says Kristian Boye.

The decision to remove beef back in 2020, was a desire to focus more on the plant-based dishes, which required saving money elsewhere. Beef, being the more expensive meat product and the one having the biggest impact on the climate change, was the item that had to be removed from the plates at Søndre Campus.

Also at Københavns Professionshøjskole (KP) the removal of beef from the menus, is seen as a natural development: “We have a big focus on green transition. This applies not only directly to our education programs, where, for example, our teacher students play a crucial role in shaping and educating future generations, but also here on campus, where more and more green solutions are emerging. Therefore, phasing out beef from our canteens with support from both students and faculty is a completely natural development,” says Søren Erichsen, Resource Director at KP.

Impact on society
The total consumption of beef by the Danish population is significant, and a substantial 55% of our overall greenhouse gas emissions from food, come from beef. This is evident in a recent report from Concito, Denmark’s Green Think Tank. Therefore, Michael Minter, Program Manager for Future Foods at Concito, also welcomes the decision by several educational institutions to drop beef.

“Replacing beef with other meat types at several educational institutions will have a positive impact on the institutions’ carbon footprint and can send a signal that beef is not everyday food but rather a luxury product that should be consumed in very moderate quantities,” says Michael Minter, continuing: “The very best option, however, would be to primarily serve plant-based meals”.