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New article by the Sustainmeals team published in the British Food Journal

The study presents pathways for more sustainable eating practices in schools




A recent study by the Sustainmeals research team presents pathways for a more sustainable school meals system. The paper published in the British Food Journal is based on interviews with stakeholders from the school meals system.


The main goal of the study was to envisage relevant avenues for promoting more sustainable eating in schools. “In this study, we wanted to provide a comprehensive understanding of how school meals work and how they may lever a large-scale transition toward a more sustainable food system” – commented João Graça, one of the authors of the study. This work is integrated in a broader research project which aims at promoting a nation-wide shift towards more healthy and sustainable plant-based meals. “There is a growing consensus that more sustainable lifestyles entail more sustainable eating and plant-based diets are one promising route to tackle the current climate change challenges” – concludes the professor at the University of Groningen.


Several stakeholders of the school meals system took part in this study. Participants were involved at different levels of influence, from more proximal actors, such as students, parents, and teachers, to representatives of more distal influences, such as municipalities, social and community organizations, catering services, policy makers, academics, and others.


The findings of this study allowed the identification of three pathways to promote more plant-based meals in schools. These included levering orientations toward ethical and environmentally beneficial consumption, improving and increasing the offer of plant-based meals, and mobilizing local communities and society. The research team also concludes that the shift toward more sustainable eating requires systemic, integrated approaches which focus on food consumption, food provision, and the broader political and sociocultural environment.


To red the full paper visit the British Food Journal website.