Reading Time: 2 minutes Children enjoyed the meat-free meals
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A staggering 50 percent of cafeteria meals served in the Santa Barbara Unified School District are vegan, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.

The schools started serving the meals after teaming up plant-based company Hungry Planet.

As a result of the partnership, on Earth Day 2017, schools in the district served a plant-based feast, including dishes like vegan meatball subs, chicken chile verde burritos, and double cheeseburgers from the company’s food truck.

The meals were popular – selling out in three days, tripling sales from previous years.

Vegan meals

After this success, Nancy Weiss, Food Director for the district, decided to offer the meals on a call-ahead basis.

She said: “I realized I really wanted everyone to be able to experience it.

“I just decided we would come up with a bunch of kid-friendly menu ideas and roll it out quietly. A lot of days they are running out of the Hungry Planet option.”

Meat alternatives

Hungry Planet was co-founded by brother and and sister team Todd and Jody Boyman, who spent more than 10 years developing their range.

They told the Santa Barbara Independent: “Our vision started 12 years ago, when the data started becoming more clear about what was causing some of the fundamental environmental and public-health challenges on the planet.

“It’s pretty clear that the root cause has to do with the food choices that we make. You can’t solve the problem without addressing our whole food system.”

Vegan options

More than 50 school districts across the States currently offer some vegan options – with many observing Meatless Mondays.

In addition, schools outside the USA have also started dishing up plant-based meals. Next year, Mexico’s second largest state is set to serve 925,000 vegan school meals in a year.

Schools in four Brazilian cities are moving to vegan meals over the next school year – and will be serving around 23 million plant-based plates in a year.

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