“Kale Yeah”: the food scheme that is helping Portsmouth students save money and save the planet

If you were curious as to why there has been a sudden range of new foods and flavours at your favourite uni cafes like Park Building, Cafe Coco and the University Library, you can credit “Kale Yeah”- a brand-spanking-new reward scheme to encourage students and staff to make more conscious food choices. Supported by the environment-savvy organisation “Friends of the Earth”, Kale Yeah teamed up with the University of Portsmouth in Autumn 2018 to help raise awareness of the health and environmental benefits of eating less meat, fish and dairy, and consuming more nutrient-dense, plant-based foods.

Reducing animal products for health and environmental motives is not a new concept and has surely caught the attention of the media. More recently, alarming statistics have revealed the extent to which environments (in regards to animal populations and our own habitats) are in catastrophic danger as a result of increased carbon emissions related to animal agriculture — humans contribute 14.5% towards growing carbon emissions, just by consuming animal products alone (FAO, 2014).

Recent research suggests that going beyond the 1.5-2 degrees maximum increase in global temperature will lead to droughts, flooding, warming oceans (putting sea life at risk), and extreme weather (IPCC 2018; The Guardian, 2018; NASA), which can already be documented in the recent “Hurricane Michael” in the Carolinas, September 2018.

Although animal products such as meat can provide a source of essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, protein and vitamin b12, studies suggest that there is a decreased risk of stroke and heart disease in those who adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, compared to meat eaters. Furthermore, the intensive animal farming industry that produces high volumes of meat at low costs results in extremely poor and cruel standards of welfare for animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and even fish, as well as the production of low-quality meat and dairy products.

The trend of an increasing number of people who are reducing the amount of animal products in their diet has been reported by the NUS “Eat Less Meat” survey in July 2018, who found that 1 in 10 people have already decided to reduce their meat intake, whereby 53% of respondents were most motivated by the health benefits of a reduced meat diet, and 77% of respondents who are vegetarian or vegan don’t eat meat for environmental benefits.

The University of Portsmouth recognises the increased demand in more vegetarian and vegan options around campus by staff and students, as well as the challenges of delivering tasty, meat-free options that can be enjoyed by anyone. With the support of Kale Yeah, a new loyalty scheme has been adopted so that you have the opportunity to try a range of exciting, tasty and nutritious foods that can save you money in the long-term.

How does the Kale Yeah scheme work?

Every time you buy a vegetarian or vegan option at any on-campus cafe, scan your student card and after six of these type of similarly priced meals are purchased, you are given a loyalty card that entitles you to a FREE meal- including meat and fish options.

The vegetarian and vegan meals up for grabs include salads, sandwiches and wraps. Ask one of the caterers at any of the UoP cafes if you are unsure!

TIP: look out for the “Kale Yeah” to show you which of the meat-free options are available.

Take a look at some of the options below — for those who are looking for something to replicate the taste and texture of meat, the Vegan Sausage sandwich really does the trick!

Vegan Sausage sandwich offered as part of the "Kale Yeah!" scheme Sweet & Smokin' sandwich offered as part of the "Kale Yeah!" scheme

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