The 34 canteens and cafes catering to Berlin’s sizeable student population at four different universities will offer a predominantly vegan menu from October 2021.

Students at universities in Berlin will from this winter swap currywurst and schnitzel for seeds and pulses, as campus canteens in the German capital make heavy cuts to their meat and fish options.

The 34 canteens and cafes catering to Berlin’s sizeable student population at four different universities will offer from October a menu that is 68{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} vegan, 28{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} vegetarian, and 2{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} fish-based, with a single meat option offered four days a week.

“We developed a new nutritional concept mainly because students have repeatedly approached us with the request for a more climate-friendly offer at their canteens,” said Daniela Kummle of Studierendenwerk, the organisation providing economic, social, health and cultural support to students enrolled at Berlin’s higher education institutions.

Students will be able to nourish themselves over the winter months with meals including buckwheat and spelt bowls topped with grilled sweet potatoes, marinated beetroot and sesame seeds, or pasta bakes with tomato and cheese.

Across Germany, university canteens and cafeterias currently offer 30-50{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} vegetarian options after years of rising demand, estimated Stefan Grob, a spokesperson for Deutsches Studentenwerk, the umbrella organisation of student support providers. “But in Berlin, you have a critical mass.”

In 2019, Berlin universities fed about 5.6 million meals to students in its canteens. That same year a survey found that 13.5{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} of Berlin’s student population described themselves as keeping a vegan diet, compared with just 1.6{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} in the country as a whole, while a further 33{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} said they were vegetarians.

Berlin’s Free University has had a canteen selling only vegetarian food since 2010, called Veggie No 1. A vegan-only canteen, called Veggie No 2, opened its doors in 2019. “The great success of the vegetarian and vegan canteens have made it clear that students’ consumer behaviour is changing,” said Studierendenwerk’s Kummle. “There’s a clear trend towards fewer animal-based products.”

Climate protection is increasingly becoming a pressing issue at Berlin universities. The city’s Humboldt University is planning to become climate neutral by 2030, Berlin’s Technical University is hoping to reach the same target by 2045.

More than 300 staff at both universities in 2019 signed a letter committing themselves to forego job-related short-distance flights for journeys under 1,000km (621 miles).

Original source: https://www.theguardian.com