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Forward Food Case Study: University of Winchester

13th May 2021 - 11:49
The purpose of these case studies is to exemplify the positive impact Forward Food has on university catering. It details how the services offered by the programme gave them the knowledge and tools needed to create delicious plant-based meals and reduce their meat procurement and greenhouse gas emissions.

University of Winchester


Number of students: 7,770

The University of Winchester is well-known for its Centre for Animal Welfare. It comes as no surprise that they are very invested in improving their catering provisions. Prior to implementing Forward Food, the university had already committed to their LIFE Policy (local, Independent, Fair and Ethical) in 2010 and the Creature Kind commitment in 2016. Forward Food felt like the logical next step in their plant-based journey.


The University of Winchester contacted HSI to support a greenhouse gas assessment for the 2015/16 academic year, which helped create a baseline for future emissions. They then held a Forward Food workshop on the 1st of May 2018 in which we trained 11 chefs and supervisors.
Here is some of the feedback we received from participants:
“I loved the whole day. It was great to see all the staff getting involved and trying out new ideas. I love the creative side of being a chef but feel we choose the easy option sometimes, so it was nice to be able to come out of my comfort zone and try new ideas.”
“We have already placed our first tempeh order with our supplier and the tempeh and kimchi wrap has since gone down really well with students.”
“It has opened my eyes to new beans, grains and rice and has given me the tools to use some new ingredients and try out new dishes!”

Over a period of three years from 2016 to 2019, the University of Winchester has reduced greenhouse gas emissions, from the purchase of meat, dairy and eggs, by 19% for overall volume, and by 22% per capita, for customers served, over the same period. This is an encouraging show of progress towards
providing a sustainable food service and puts them on the cusp of meeting their desired reduction of 25% over a five-year period. Prior to any changes to menu, emissions for the period of 2016-17 amounted to 363 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. Several years later in 2018-19 and this figure is now at 296 metric tonnes.
This reduction in emissions was the result of a number of adjustments to their menu including a reduction in dairy cheese and milk, pork, beef and lamb, the introduction of a weekly meat free events, development of ‘Taste of the World’, which explored international cuisine and was largely plant-based with 3-4 vegan options available each week, and ensuring a vegan option at their traditionally meat-centric burger bar and pizzeria as well as plant based dairy options across all the coffee bars.
These interventions saved the lives of at least 2,124 animals in 2018/19 (please note, this is a conservative estimate calculated by converting purchase weights to live animal weights).

Future Plans

The University of Winchester recently made the announcement that they will no longer be serving beef on campus. This action will result in a further reduction of 90 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and will help them achieve their baseline goal of a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases.
They also opened their first fully vegan café in September 2020 and plan on collaborating with us later in the year (dependent on COVID) to further develop their plant-based meals.

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Written by
Rebecca Saunders