A recent study conducted by Kantar Public in partnership with Eurest, a major contract caterer part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has highlighted the long-term effectiveness of Veganuary campaigns in workplace restaurants.

The study, spanning 36 workplace restaurants across England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, revealed significant increases in the uptake of vegan and vegetarian meals during Veganuary, with positive impacts observed up to a year later.

The study analysed sales data spanning six years and found an impressive 86% to 113% increase in the uptake of vegan meals during Veganuary compared to baseline levels. Similarly, vegetarian meal uptake saw a notable increase ranging from 23% to 79%. Despite a gradual decline in subsequent months, approximately one third of the initial rise in sales of plant-based meals persisted by the end of the year in both 2020 and 2021.

Promoting Sustainability and Health

Encouraging employees to choose plant-based options not only benefits individual health but also contributes to sustainability efforts. With an estimated 60% of food-related greenhouse gases attributed to meat-based product production, promoting plant-based menus aligns with environmental goals as well. Eurest’s marketing strategies focused on positioning plant-based meals as exciting and aspirational, tapping into the growing flexitarian trend.

The success of Eurest’s initiative underscores the effectiveness of nudging behaviour towards healthier and more sustainable food choices. By strategically placing plant-based options before meat dishes on menus and increasing their availability, the campaign successfully influenced consumer preferences. Rees Bramwell, Head of Nutrition and Sustainability at Eurest, emphasised the importance of plant-based diets for both health and the environment, with 52% of workplace menus now plant-based and plans to reach 60% by the end of 2024.

The study’s findings hold significant implications for future campaigns aimed at promoting sustainable food choices in workplace settings. As businesses and organisations strive to meet Net Zero goals and improve public health, strategies that nudge behaviour towards plant-based options could play a pivotal role. The trial conducted by Eurest and Kantar Public represents one of several behavioural trials conducted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to understand interventions that can drive positive changes in food safety and food choices.