Brentwood School is taking part in a Green & Lean pilot scheme launched by global giant Sodexo which aims to promote diets which are both healthy and sustainable.
Students at the School are tucking into a set of 10 different sustainable meals which have an increased nutritional content, use ingredients which are responsibly sourced, and a reduced carbon footprint.
Sodexo, who serve around one million meals every day in schools, hospitals and workplaces, has teamed up with conservation charity WWF to launch Green & Lean. Staff and pupils at Brentwood have the chance to try each of the special dishes twice over the six-week trial.
Sodexo’s executive development chef for Independent Schools, Tom Allen said; “It was really important that the meals we created tasted great. The idea was to make small changes to popular, well-loved dishes that would up the nutritional content and reduce the environmental impact, without dramatically changing the taste or the look of the dish.
For example, the Green & Lean lasagne contains more carrots, onions and celery than Sodexo’s original recipe and less beef mince. It also contains wholemeal rather than white flour pasta.”
Plant-based foods have to account for at least two thirds of the volume of each meal; refined grains are replaced with whole grains; and meat and fish has to have relevant certification, such as MSC or RSPCA Assured. They include favourites such as beef lasagne, chicken and leek pie and Lancashire hot pot.
Following the pilot, Sodexo intends to market the meals under the Green & Lean brand to other clients in the schools and universities sector, and within its corporate services business, which provides employee restaurants to some of world’s biggest companies.
Sodexo UK and Ireland’s corporate responsibility manager Edwina Hughes said; “We have an important role to play in both helping promote healthy lifestyles and in doing so in a way which is sustainable. Green & Lean is an exciting development for us. We’re finding that consumers are more and more interested in the provenance of their food and want to make ethical, sustainable and healthy choices, but of course these options still need to be tasty and appealing.”
Nick Hughes at WWF said; “The food we eat – growing, producing and consuming it – has a massive impact on the planet. We have found that food is responsible for around 30% of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
Brentwood School is one of the eight schools taking part in the trial. All the schools have received promotional materials to help explain the ethos and principles of Green & Lean to students and staff.
The 10 Green & Lean meals are: beef bourguigon; beef lasagne; chicken biryani; chicken and leek pie; herb-crusted pork escalope; Lancashire hotpot and leek, chive and wild-mushroom frittata
The 10 criteria for Green and Lean meals are:
- Plant-based foods account for at least two-thirds of the volume (g) of each meal
- Animal protein accounts for no more than one-third of the volume (g) of each meal
- Fruits and vegetables are sourced according to seasonality
- Refined grains are replaced with whole grains
- No salt is added to the finished meal
- Sugar is Fairtrade and added sparingly to meals
- Dairy products that are lower in fat should be used
- All fish is MSC certified; pork and chicken is RSPCA Assured; beef is British
- All meals are served to standardised portion sizes