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Call for vegan option on school menus

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By Fiona Reid
Call for vegan option on school menus

THE provost of Dumfries has called for vegan meal options to be added to school menus so that over 1000 pupils do not miss out.

Tracey Little spoke out at the recent education committee, insisting that more youngsters are becoming health-conscious but are not being provided for.

She said: “Every time the school menus come in I get more and more disappointed because we have poor and very limited vegetarian options – and no vegan options whatsoever.

“This maybe seems like a small amount of people, but actually it’s not.

“Six per cent of Scots are vegan and 14 per cent are thinking about it within the next year. If you take that six percent, that’s more than 1200 kids that can’t access school meals.

“Twenty per cent of Gen Z (the generation born between 1997 and 2012) are already on plant-based diets, with a further 26 per cent thinking about within the next year.

“We’re talking 1200 to 4000 children who can’t access our school meals. This has been ongoing, and I’m disappointed year on year.”

She added: “I brought this up many times when my children were at school, and it’s never been corrected.

“Can we put some decent options forward? I mean, the vegetarian options are pasta and pizza. That is it, and that’s all there’s ever been.

“We need to be catering for plant-based. People are becoming more health-conscious – and we are not providing for them.”

The Scottish Government’s brought in new healthy eating legislation earlier this year, forcing the catering service to rethink menus in schools, including cutting back on sugar and processed red meat products, and including more fruit and vegetables.

Alan Mawson, a facilities manager with the council, responded to Provost Little and said: “It’s a point raised often through the committee, the menu choices we have.

“We’ve tried to improve the vegetarian options and we have the Nutrition Bill legislation, which restricts us even further now with how many we can put on.

“The reduction of red meat has pushed us to look at alternative options.

“The majority of vegan diets will be referred to through our special diet policy, which works well and is ever-increasing.

“Vegetarian options are always there as part of the daily options that are available.”

The council officer added that any new food item has to go through checks to ensure it’s nutritionally-balanced before it can be added to menus.

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