The MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network supports members of the Armed Forces to maintain their chosen diet, lifestyle or ethical beliefs while in service. It connects vegans and vegetarians across the tri-services to help and educate each other, as well as external groups.
As the Soft facilities management provider on over 250 military establishments across the UK, ESS is positioned to partner with the Network to ensure vegans and vegetarians are well catered for in messes. The partnership builds on ESS’ work to increase plant-based options and reduce meat on their menus.
Squadron leader Sophie Foxen, chair of the MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network, commented: “The Network wants everyone in the MOD to have the opportunity to enjoy nourishing vegetarian and vegan food, whether that’s every day or occasionally.
“Working with ESS is part of providing a positive ethical, environmentally friendly, and healthy culture in the MOD. These purposes relate to the Defence Sustainability and Diversity and Inclusion Strategies. We want to see enthusiasm for high quality vegan and vegetarian food throughout the MOD.
“For ethical vegans, whose belief system is to minimise exploitation of animals, particularly we know that improving access to nutritious vegan food helps personnel to maximise their output. Overall, as more working adults become vegan or vegetarian, we believe our partnership with ESS is important to help ensure that the MOD doesn’t miss out recruiting or retaining some top talent.”
Around 29% of the ESS core menu is vegan or vegetarian with a further 30% currently plant-forward (at least 30% of the meat in the dish has been replaced with a plant-based alternative).
Scott Freeman, culinary director at ESS Defence, added: “It’s important that we listen to our customers and by partnering with the MOD Vegan & Vegetarian Network, ESS will respond to the needs of those choosing to have a vegan or vegetarian diet in a really meaningful way.
“Vegan and vegetarian food is delicious, healthy and great for our planet, and we’ll be working with the Network to further develop and promote these options. This is building on our focus of reducing meat on our menus, supporting health and sustainability targets.”