Berlin Canteens fight climate change with meat-free menu


34 canteens across Berlin will be introducing 90%+ meat-free menus for university students and help reduce carbon footprint.

Starting this October, 34 canteens that cater to students in Berlin will be releasing new meat-free options to help fight climate change.

Their newly revised menu will now contain 68% vegan, 28% vegetarian, 2% pescatarian, and lastly, 2% meat dishes. In addition, every Monday is 100% meat-free menus only.

New Eco-friendly Meat-free Meals

Meat-free Vegan Vegetable Stew
During the pandemic, the canteens were closed, but they still offered food picks up and food trucks. During this time, the Studierendenwerk organization took the time to revise a more eco-friendly menu for students. With the newest change, students will be able to get their nutrients while reducing their carbon footprints.

Their current menu includes 341 vegan dishes(and 288 of them are also gluten-free), 145 vegetarian dishes(108 of which are also gluten-free), 12 with fish, and 12 with meat.

New meat-free dishes include “vegan vegetable stew with coconut milk and red lentils and a chickpea and quinoa bowl with vegetables and chia seeds”.

In addition, to make sure the students are getting the most out of their meals, the vegetables used depend on the season. For example, during the summer season, there are more fresh vegetables that are from local region farmers, instead of importing to reduce carbon emission.

Lastly, all meat and fish provided are also sourced from sustainable fishing and agriculture.

Cater to New Generation

Since the 2010s, Berlin Free University has had a vegan-only canteen and in 2019, a second vegan-only canteen was opened in Technical University.

“The great success of the vegetarian and vegan canteens have made it clear that students’ consumer behavior is changing….There’s a clear trend towards fewer animal-based products.”

Daniela Kummle from Studierendenwerk, an organization that provides student support in Berlin, also shared with reporters that it is important to adapt and change the menu to fit the current trend of student’s eating habits and current events.

In addition, the menus change every semester to ensure the students are getting the best and adjust to students’ recommendations.

“Students have repeatedly approached us with the request for a more climate-friendly offer at their canteens” – Daniela Kummle

Universities taking initiatives in fighting climate change

Campus Charite Mitte of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany
With the new meat-free menus, universities are trying to reduce their carbon footprints. In addition, many universities plan to go one step further in becoming carbon neutral in the near future. Including refurbishing school buildings to be more energy-efficient, “hundreds of staff at both universities have also voluntarily committed to forego short-haul flights for business trips” and so on.

As Ethical Choice, we are happy to see more people and universities taking initiatives to fight climate change. If you are interested in joining the meat-free movement, here are some easy vegan recipes that you should try.

For more information:
Berlin universities (almost) banish meat from canteens
Berlin’s university canteens go almost meat-free as students prioritise climate

Author: Monica Chang
Director of Ethical Choice
I am passionate about finding amazing sustainable and eco-friendly products and sharing them with more people. Interesting in plastic-free, reduce waste, and DIY.