The best of 2016

 

As the year draws to an end we’ve selected Eating Better’s Best of 2016: from campaigns to chefs, cities and countries.  Check out the 10 people, organisations and initiatives that we’re celebrating for championing less & better meat and encouraging more plant-based eating for our health and the health of our planet.

1.  Are you VegCuriousWe had a lot of fun creating Reg the Veg for our Are you vegcurious? campaign designed to encourage young men in particular to see veg differently. Created in collaboration with the marketing industry’s brilliant Do It Day initiative and our partners Hubbub & World Resources Institute, this campaign eschews the worthiness and goes for the funny bone. Leeks on fleek anyone?

2.  Bruno Loubet: A round of applause for the celebrated chef who is championing putting vegetables centre plate at his Grainstore Restaurant and who is supporting our Vegcurious campaign. Try his delicious Chilli con Veggie recipe and see him talk about why he puts veg first.

3.  Pret a Manger. We congratulate Pret on its Not Just for Veggies experiment to introduce many more vegetarian and vegan options – and trial them in a dedicated store. Not only did sales increase by 70% but the company has made the pop-up store permanent and is considering plans to introduce more. Top choice for our #MeatFreeLunch campaign.

4.  New Healthy Eating Guidelines. It’s been encouraging this year to see new dietary guidelines that integrate sustainability alongside healthy eating advice. We welcomed the UK’s Eatwell Guide from Public Health England as a step in the right direction, and new Dutch and Swedish versions that are more explicit in their eat less meat/more plants messaging. 2016 also saw new less meat advice from China – recommending its citizens cut back to half of what they currently consume.

5.  International Year of Pulses. Often overlooked, humble beans, lentils and chickpeas have had their year of fame this 2016. With the backing of the United Nations, it has enabed us to shout about their superfood status for our health, the health of the planet and food security. And thanks to pulse ambassador and all-round bean queen, Jenny Chandler for sharing her delicious recipes with us throughout 2016.

6.  Sodexo launches Green & Lean school meals. The world’s second largest catering company, Sodexo, is rolling out its Green & Lean meals – developed in collaboration with WWF - across more than 40 UK schools in January 2017. 2016 saw a successful pilot in which 20,000 meals, containing more than a tonne of extra vegetables, were served to pupils. We look forward to seeing many more caterers putting healthy & sustainable meals on the menu in 2017.

7. Generation Moderation. New research this year for World Meat Free Day finds the culture of moderation particularly among the young is shifting eating habits. 40% of people in the UK say they are eating less meat than they used to. Even among the stereotypically carnivorous we appear to be witnessing a change in attitudes with 37% of 16-24 year old males agreeing ‘eating red meat is bad for you’. This year’s World Meat Free Day (which Eating Better is proud to support) reached a staggering 82m people worldwide helping raise awareness of how individual small dietary changes adds up to a massive change for our health and the environment! And it’s not too early to sign up for 2017.

8. Scotland’s Good Food Nation Bill: In September this year the Scottish Government announced the Good Food Nation Bill in its programme for government. Congratulations to the Scottish Food Coalition (which we’ve been delighted to support) for championing this as an opportunity for cross-cutting legislation to transform Scotland’s food system for the wellbeing of its people and the protection of the environment. 

9. Thumbs up to the Eden Project rated UK visitor attraction for its children’ food in the Soil Association’s Out To Lunch league table.  Eden Project aims “to connect people with each other and the living world” – and they do this through their food, offering sustainable fish, free range chicken, and a bundle of organic ingredients, with meals freshly prepared and cooked in front of diners.  

10. Bristol Flexitarian City for their pioneering Flexitarian Restaurant Awards helping Bristolians to eat better. We hope it inspires other cities to take up the idea in 2017. And for helping making it easy to switch we like Friends of the Earth’s Let’s Eat Better campaign launched this year. Sign up to receive monthly tips and recipes and check out how much carbon emissions you can save.

 

We know there are many more great initiatives out there championing Eating Better's less & better approach to meat and encouraging more plant-based eating. Who or what is your 2016 champion?  Tweet us your nominations @Eating_Better #lessandbetter