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Ōtepoti – Universities in Berlin are drastically changing their cafeteria menus to mostly vegan food,  for the good of the planet.

The move was motivated by students’ requests for more sustainable and more eco-friendly food. How does this compare with university cafes in New Zealand? Is their food more eco-friendly or healthy?

From October, 34 cafes and canteens at four different Berlin universities will only offer one meat option four days a week.

Vegan options will make up most of the menus – 68 percent to be precise. Meanwhile, 28 percent and two percent of the offerings will be vegetarian and fish-based respectively.

Studierendenwerk, a non-profit organisation that provides cultural, economic, and social support to students in Berlin, developed a new nutritional café concept.

Students had repeatedly approached the group with the request for a more climate-friendly offer at their canteens.

The key success of plant-based university canteens shows that students have made it clear consumer behaviour is changing.

The number of vegans in Germany has doubled in just four years, according to new polling.

Veganz, a German vegan supermarket and food producer, did the research, polling around 2600 participants.

It looked at the eating habits of omnivores and vegans in seven European countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Portugal, and Denmark.

Veganz said living vegan or vegetarian is no longer a niche phenomenon and is now more than just socially accepted.

The vegan trend is strongest in Germany. Extrapolated for the current population of 83.1 million people (as of June 2020), the study results show that 2.6 million people – around 3.2 percent of the population – are vegan and about 3.6 million (4.4 percent) vegetarians.

The number of Europeans deliberately consuming meat less frequently is growing rapidly at 22.9 percent. Almost 30 percent of Germans surveyed said they were flexitarians.

The flexitarian movement aims to educate and influence people about the benefits of eating plant-based foods and alternative meat products, while eating meat only in moderation.

Unlike vegans and vegetarians, flexitarians don’t completely cut meat from their diets, they simply limit the amount of animal protein in their meal choices.