Schools in the northeastern United States will soon have more vegan and vegetarian lunch options, thanks to a partnership with major food management service company (FMSC), Whitsons Culinary Group.
In a press release, the company announced that all of its managed school district dining services will adopt the popular Meatless Monday health initiative. While meat will still be on the menu, the availability of meat-free options comes as a result of student demand. A recent customer survey conducted by Whitsons revealed that students were interested in having “more meatless, plant-based menu options.“
“Whitsons is proud to be a part of the Meatless Monday campaign. It perfectly complements our Simply Rooted™ philosophy of promoting healthy foods, a healthy environment, and balanced diets,” said Kelly Friend, Chief Operating Officer of Whitsons. “We are not taking away the option of meat on Mondays, we are simply making sure we are featuring and promoting a student-friendly vegetarian option. When students are looking for something hearty like a burger, we encourage them to try vegetarian burger options such as our classic garden or black bean burger. We prepare them just like we would a traditional burger and offer a variety of healthy toppings to keep it interesting.”
“Our collaboration with Whitsons School Nutrition will provide students and staff in over 95 school districts in the Northeast with delicious meatless options every Monday throughout the school year. We hope the implementation of Meatless Monday in schools with Whitsons dining services will inspire students to start each week taking small steps that can instill healthy habits for life,” said Cherry Dumaual, Partnerships Director at The Monday Campaigns.
According to the website, Whitsons Culinary Group has been providing food to schools for 33 years and is the fourth largest FMSC serving schools K-12 in the United States. The Meatless Monday initiative will provide students with black bean burgers, meatless pizza, acai bowls, and more.
Late last year, all 1,200 public schools in New York City launched an initiative to provide one vegan school lunch option daily and 15 Brooklyn schools adopted a Meatless Monday program to provide students with vegetarian school lunches once a week.
Demand for plant-based food has skyrocketed in recent years, as more individuals become aware of the impact that animal-based foods have on personal health, the environment, and animals. While millennials are spearheading the burgeoning vegan food market, plant-based food has also been growing in popularity among Generation Z, many of whom are now heading off to college and buying their own food.
Recent research conducted by the multinational bank Barclays shows that Generation Z consumes 550 percent more plant-based milk and 53 percent more tofu than previous generations. By 2020, Generation Z is expected to make up 40 percent of consumers, which will likely strengthen the growing markets for plant-based food.
Image Credit: Whitsons