University unveils loyalty scheme to encourage eating less meat

Friends of the earth staff and Nick Leach
03/10/2018 - 11:59
A loyalty scheme has launched to encourage students to eat less meat and more veg.

Friends of the Earth has teamed up with the University of Portsmouth to pilot the new scheme, KALE YEAH! which will reward students with a free meal for every six veggie or vegan meals purchased in university cafes.

Clare Oxborrow, senior sustainability advisor at Friends of the Earth, said: “There is a growing consensus that we need to reduce the amount of meat we eat – for the planet, for farm animal welfare and for our health. But anyone who’s tried a new diet or exercise regime knows it’s not always easy to change ingrained habits.

“KALE YEAH! offers an easy way for students to try delicious meat-free meals, whilst saving money. We’re delighted to be working with University of Portsmouth and look forward to seeing how the scheme goes down, and whether ultimately it helps students embrace less and better meat eating habits.”

A recent National Union of Students (NUS) survey revealed that 72% of the 2259 students surveyed ate meat most or every day, so Friends of the Earth is using the pilot to investigate whether a loyalty scheme can prompt behaviour change and create eating habits that might ultimately lead to a lower meat diet.

Rather than using a physical card, meals and loyalty points are logged digitally so there is no problem with students losing or forgetting to use their card.

Head of catering at Portsmouth University, Nick Leach, said: “Nothing focuses customers’ attention more than when there’s a reward at the end. There is about offering a carrot, rather than a stick.

“People want to know where their food comes from and that it’s good for them. They want to know how the animals were treated and that we’re cutting down on plastic.

“We have to be responsible for what we offer customers. Caterers must wise up to the fact that tastes and times are changing. There is no plan B for the planet.”

The results of the pilot will be analysed at the end of the autumn semester, and if successful, the loyalty scheme could be launched at other universities. 

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