“Green & Lean”: New Range Of Sustainable U.K. School Meals From Sodexo And WWF

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Worryingly, the U.K. now has the highest rate of obesity in Europe, with one in three children overweight or obese by year six. Obesity in children under 11 has risen by over 40 percent in ten years. If this trend continues, half of U.K. children will be obese or overweight by 2020. London has the highest obesity levels for children in reception and year six compared to other parts of the country. This issue comes with a cost: the financial impact of obesity is estimated to become an additional £45 billion per year by 2050 with a seven-fold increase in national health costs alone. A poor diet also has significant effects on children's behaviour, concentration and mood; children with diets lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids tend to perform worse academically, cannot concentrate and are more aggressive. Junk food diets that cause health problems such as type 2 diabetes - traditionally found in the over-40s population – are now increasingly found in adolescents.

Research by the School Food Matters shows that school meals today are consistently more nutritious than packed lunches, giving the children who eat them a better foundation for good health. Now, Green & Lean, the name of a new range of sustainable school meals from Sodexo in partnership with WWF on LiveWell, WWF-U.K.’s flagship programme of work, has developed meals that are not just nutritious but have a lower-carbon footprint as the ingredients are responsibly sourced. The plant-based meals are jointly created by WWF experts and Sodexo chefs; the refined grains are replaced with whole grains, and the fish is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. The r-worked meals include beef bourguignon, fishcakes, chicken biryani, and Lancashire hotpot. By tweaking traditional recipes, the meals are made healthier and more environmentally friendly at once.

Sodexo understands that it is really important that the meals produced taste. The idea is to make small changes to popular, well-loved dishes that would increase the nutritional content and reduce the environmental impact, without dramatically changing the taste or the look of the dish. Following the pilot program, Sodexo intends to market meals under the Green & Lean brand to other clients in the schools and universities sector, and within its corporate services business.

The food we eat, that we grow, produce and consume, has a huge impact on the planet. The WWF has found that food is responsible for around 30 percent of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the LiveWell food line is an initiative with the potential to give simple, working guidance to choosing a diet that can improve our health and that of the planet at the same time, and what’s more, is also affordable to everyone. 

Photo Credit: Ethical Performance