‘Little demand’ for vegan options in North Lincolnshire says council – but ‘we’ve reduced sausage sizes’

North Lincolnshire Council has said there is “very little demand for vegan options” in the area after it was accused of falling behind in its responsibility to cater for those on plant-based diets – but it has reduced the size of its school sausages.

The Vegan Society has used the results of more than 200 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to grade higher tier councils on their efforts to cater to vegans.

Both councils in northern Lincolnshire have been placed in the traffic light grade system in “red” for falling behind in their responsibilities. North Lincolnshire Council’s red grade came even though it detailed having meat-free Mondays in schools. It has also shrunk the size of school sausages from 8 to the lb (57g) to 12s (37g).

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North East Lincolnshire Council was also graded red. However, it answered it had no canteens and simply responded “not applicable” as a result to remaining FOI questions.

North Lincolnshire’s FOI response also confirmed it recognised veganism as a protected characteristic. A council spokesperson said: “Our aim is to provide healthy and balanced menus for schools and employees, and we do cater for different diets. As for reducing meat consumption, every Monday is meat-free day in the schools we cater for and has been for over five years.

“We do provide vegan options and can adapt dishes when requested. We believe in giving people choice. We listen to the views of parents, pupils and employees and there is very little demand for vegan options in North Lincolnshire.”

In total, 54 councils were graded red, 136 amber for limited steps as viewed by The Vegan Society, and 19 were rated green for demonstrable efforts to be vegan inclusive and to reduce meat and dairy consumption. Under the Equality Act 2010, veganism is a protected characteristic.

The Vegan Society asked councils in the spring if it recognised veganism as this. It also asked how many vegan hot and cold options were offered, if vegan meal options were a requirement in procurement contracts for the likes of schools and leisure centres, and if councils had acted to reduce meat and dairy consumption to meet environmental goals.

Church Square House, Scunthorpe - A council spokesperson said it believed in food choice and there was "very little demand" for vegan options in North Lincolnshire
Church Square House, Scunthorpe – A council spokesperson said it believed in food choice and there was “very little demand” for vegan options in North Lincolnshire

North Lincolnshire Council’s FOI response confirmed it recognised veganism as a protected characteristic and has six vegan products on its primary menu. Recipes could be adjusted to vegan.

It currently offered one vegetarian menu option daily, which occasionally is also vegan. A vegan option is always available on request at buffets and hospitality.

Having vegan options as a requirement for procurement contracts for the likes of schools and care homes is not in place. However, the council is due to review this.

As for reducing meat and dairy consumption, all council-maintained schools have had meat-free Mondays for over five years. “We have reduced the size of the sausage to 12s instead of 8s and include sweet potato, peppers and carrots in our meatballs and spinach and broccoli in our beef burgers,” the authority’s FOI response added. It also stated demand for vegan options was low, but it was set up to respond quickly to changes in customer choices.

The Vegan Society’s report into councils, Catering For Everyone, notes the National Food Strategy recommends councils promote sustainable diets to reduce carbon emissions. Claire Ogley, head of campaigns, policy and research at The Vegan Society, said she hoped its report “will be a useful tool to help people to hold their local areas to account and push for more sustainable options”.

To view North Lincolnshire Council’s FOI response, click here, and to view North East Lincolnshire’s, click here.

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Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe

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