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Zurich Mensa extends study for Vegi because of climate



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Sliced, hamburger, schnitzel – many people still identify menus on the meat component. Image: KEYSTONE

Zurich cafeteria extends to study Vegi offer – with surprising result

When cooking in a more creative way, you suddenly eat vegetarian – without ever being aware of it.

by Andrea Söldi / CH Media

A vegi menu is missing in almost no restaurant and canteen anymore. But it is often unimaginably prepared and also located somewhere on the edge of the buffet. The message is clear: normal are food with the meat in the center. Vegetarian or even vegan is for the geeks. It is no wonder that most people opt for a meat or fish menu under these conditions. And again, the chefs feel confirmed in their opinion: Vegi is hardly in demand.

But the high proportion of animal products in our diet harms the environment and health. Researchers at the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich wanted to find out how it can be downloaded at the lunch restaurant. "Two-thirds of adults no longer eat at home at lunch," says co-study director Priska Baur. It is also little known that half of the total meat is consumed abroad.

Do not tie in your nose

In the fall of 2017, the scientists did a twelve-week test at their two canteens in Wädenswil. In cooperation with SV Switzerland, which manages the restaurants, they increased the meatless offer for six weeks. There are usually two meats and a Vegi menu to choose from, so there was only one beef in the six weeks of intervention, in addition to vegetarian and vegan.

In addition, the latter were not marked as such. Vegi menus would have a bad reputation for many, explains the agricultural economist. "That's why we wanted to test whether guests are more likely to opt for a vegetarian or vegan dish if not advertised properly." However, the quality must be right. Just replacing meat with vegetables does not work. For example, in the test weeks, the Bündner buns with root vegetables, lentils and vegetable curries with samosa or burrito were on the menu.

Climate load dropped

The evaluation showed that significantly fewer meat menus were selected in the vegetarian week than in the comparative weeks. Among women who generally eat less meat, the proportion dropped from just under 40 to just over 28% and for men 65-50%. At the same time, the average climate rate per court fell nearly a quarter. Conclusions on the sexes allowed the data collected through the canteen cards. Those who did not want to reveal their data could pay in cash. An email and a sign at the cash register informed students and staff that a test had been performed, but not exactly in what way, so as not to influence the results. In total, more than 26,000 menu sales were evaluated. This is unique, says Baur: There are only a few scientific studies on the eating habits of people in general and on gastronomy.

Do not offer meat: the chain of tibits restaurants. Image: KEYSTONE

The follow-up survey of about 1,200 people on campus also showed that satisfaction had not suffered from deprivation of meat – contrary to the concerns of those responsible, who considered possible a decline in guests and financial losses.

Remarkably, Baur also found that some people said they never ate vegetarian or vegan food, although the data showed they did it from time to time. "For example, with a delicious vegetable lasagne, many people do not even think about deadlock categories. It's just good food.

More and more are flexible

Another interesting finding was that only a very small minority ever or never chose meat. "A growing majority is among the flexitarists," concludes Baur. "She eats consciously, but finds a moderate consumption of meat in order." This contradicts the widespread opinion that you always eat or never eat meat – an idea that shapes many learners, as in another partial study with group interviews. the vocational school in Baden. Researchers are aware that the canteen clientele they are studying is not completely representative because many of them cater to environmental or nutritional issues at the university. They would like to repeat the experiment later elsewhere.

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The investigations are part of the large-scale research project Novanimal, which was funded by the National Science Foundation of Switzerland. Seven institutions sought together innovations along the supply chain – from agriculture to restoration. Priska Baur now wants to get in touch with those interested in the hospitality industry and organize workshops or tips via newsletters and specialist magazines. In addition, the training of chefs would have to be considered, the scientist finds: "Cooks are not well prepared for a contemporary diet with less meat. Because good vegetarian or even vegan cooking is demanding.

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