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Compass Group Ensures Military Personnel Have Access to Vegan Catering

Compass Group Ensures Military Personnel Have Access to Vegan Catering
19 May 2023

The Defence, Marine & Aerospace sector of ESS, part of Compass Group, is partnering with the MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network with the joint objective of ensuring service personnel have access to high-quality vegan and vegetarian food.   

The MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network is a community supporting members of the Armed Forces to maintain their chosen diet, lifestyle or ethical beliefs while in service. It connects vegans and vegetarians across the tri-services to help and educate each other, as well as external groups.

The network also aims to create new policies that will empower members to maintain veganism and vegetarianism alongside military life, and in 2022 they reported that they were exploring the opportunity to supply vegetarian shoes that are not made using leather.

The partnership builds on ESS’ work to increase plant-based options and reduce meat on the menu, in line with health and wellbeing and net-zero commitments. ESS is the soft FM provider on over 250 military establishments across the UK, from Cornwall to the north of Scotland.

27 per cent of the company’s core menu is already vegan or vegetarian and its culinary teams are continuing to develop and innovate in this area. A further 30 per cent of the core menu is currently plant-forward so at least 30 per cent of the meat in the dish has been replaced with a plant-based alternative.

Sodexo food sales data shows that, by the end of 2021, vegan and vegetarian meal options were forming 13 per cent of all meal sales at offices and other corporate client sites where it provides catering. This marks a significant increase at the start of the year when these meals represented just eight per cent of all those sold.

Squadron Leader Sophie Foxen, Chair of the MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network, commented: “The Network wants everyone in the MOD to have the opportunity to enjoy nourishing vegetarian and vegan food, whether that’s every day or occasionally. Working with ESS is part of providing a positive ethical, environmentally friendly, and healthy culture in the MOD. These purposes relate to the Defence Sustainability and Diversity and Inclusion Strategies.

"We want to see enthusiasm for high-quality vegan and vegetarian food throughout the MOD. For ethical vegans, whose belief system is to minimise exploitation of animals, particularly we know that improving access to nutritious vegan food helps personnel to maximise their output. Overall, as more working adults become vegan or vegetarian, we believe our partnership with ESS is important to help ensure that the MOD doesn’t miss out recruiting or retaining some top talent.”

Scott Freeman, Culinary Director – ESS Defence, added: “It’s important that we listen to our customers and by partnering with the MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network, ESS will respond to the needs of those choosing to have a vegan or vegetarian diet in a really meaningful way. Vegan and vegetarian food is delicious, healthy and great for our planet, and we’ll be working with the Network to further develop and promote these options. This is building on our focus of reducing meat on our menus, supporting health and sustainability targets.”

Picture: a photograph of some vegan tacos laid out on a wooden board, with pots of sauce and sliced limes. Image Credit: Pexels

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 19 May 2023


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