The problem 

Meat consumption has a huge impact – on the planet, on climate emissions, our health and animal welfare.  

In the UK we eat twice the amount of meat compared to the global average. We need to cut that by half by 2030 to meet climate goals.  

Veganism and flexitarianism are on the rise. But there are still social and cultural barriers to reducing the amount of meat we eat.

The challenge 

How can we get 18-24 year olds to eat less meat? 

What if... we could nudge young people to change their habits during big life changes like leaving home. Could we reach people when they first take control of their food and encourage a more plant-based diet?  

What we did: we piloted a loyalty scheme for students to incentivise choosing veggie and vegan meals in university canteens.

What is Kale Yeah?

A loyalty card-based scheme piloted in all University of Portsmouth canteens. Students buy 6 veggie/vegan meals to earn a free meal which could be veggie or meat. We found offering the choice broadens the appeal to meat eaters.

Staff and students swipe their existing Loyalty card to log their rewards at the tills.

University of Portsmouth chefs have been trained to create delicious plant-based meals, so incentivising meat-free meals means students are sure to enjoy great-tasting food.

The launch

Kale Yeah! launched in September 2018 at Portsmouth University cafes with Kale Yeah!-branded materials.

We promoted it in the canteens, university channels and on social media.

And we briefed catering staff in advance. Their enthusiasm was key to the success of the launch.

"People want to know where their food comes from and that it’s good for them. They want to know how the animals were treated and that we’re cutting down on plastic.  

"Caterers must wise up to the fact that tastes and times are changing. There is no plan B for the planet.” Nick Leach, Head of Catering (pictured right).

What did we test?

Visual identity and framing with a focus group of Portsmouth students. Humour and saving money were key motivators.

Till data analysis has shown that take-up has increased from 80 people registered in October 2018 to 1238 in May 2019; 16656 vegetarian/vegan meals served and 2776 rewards claimed over two terms.

Qualitative conversations between ambassadors and students in cafes and an online survey have helped build awareness.  

What's next

We would love Kale Yeah! to be taken up in other academic institutions and have developed a toolkit and set of resources to help launch it.

If you are a catering manager and want to know more about what we learned in setting up the scheme or a student who wants to campaign for change in your college or university, get in touch.