Reading Time: 2 minutes Many UK universities have vegan and vegetarian cafes on campus (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A growing number of UK university campuses are banning beef and building vegan cafes, according to an investigation by the PA news agency.

The changes are a result of growing awareness around the environmental impact of meat products.

Meat reducing

While a small number of universities – including Goldsmiths, University of London, and King’s College London – banned beef entirely last year, more are taking active steps to reduce meat consumption.

According to Freedom of Information requests, around 50 percent of the UK’s 144 UK institutions who responded have hosted dedicated events aimed at flexiarians, vegetarians, or others following specific diets. These events include Meat-Free Monday.

Almost a third (31 percent) have established dedicated vegetarian or vegan cafes or other food outlets on campus, with a further 18 in the process of creating them, or planning to.

Some universities have chosen not to implement bans, instead leaving students to decide what they want to eat.

‘Very positive’

According to Vanessa Gouws, head of commercial services at Goldsmiths, there has been a ‘very positive response’ to the introduction of more veggie and vegan food, and the removal of beef.

She said: “People appreciate the environmental benefits but it also fits in with modern lifestyle choices.

“We recently launched a new cafe on campus specialising in vegetarian and vegan meals as this was what our students and staff were asking for. Feedback has been extremely positive and they are seeing increasing footfall at the cafe that complements the offer of other campus food outlets.”

Many universities are offering more plant-based food, according to the report (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Best vegan food?

In October 2019, vegan charity PETA compiled a list of the UK’s most plant-based-friendly universities, in a bid to ‘celebrate the institutions that best support students looking for compassionate, eco-friendly food options’.

It selected the universities based on the availability of plant-based food options on campus and their initiatives to promote vegan eating.

“Students in the UK are going vegan in huge numbers, and it’s great to see universities joining the revolution,” said PETA Director Elisa Allen.

“PETA commends these universities for offering healthy and delicious vegan food options that everyone can enjoy.”

The list

These are the most vegan-friendly universities in the UK according to PETA:

Goldsmiths, University of London

Imperial College London

King’s College London

London School of Economics and Political Science

University of Aberdeen

University of the Arts London

University of Bath

University of Brighton

University of Cambridge

University of Essex

University of Huddersfield

University of Kent

University of Leicester

University of Manchester

University of Plymouth

University of Reading

University of Sheffield

University of Sterling

University of Sussex

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.