Is this the UK’s greenest meal?Ethical Food & Drink News & Features
A 13lbs (6kg) portion of yellow split pea, potato and cauliflower curry has been served with flatbread at Friends of the Earth’s HQ to launch The Vegan Society’s environmental campaign.
The recipe uses 4.4lbs (2kg) yellow split peas and 4.4lbs (2kg) potatoes – and will feed 50 people for just over £20. Its carbon footprint has been calculated to be a mere 8.92kg CO2e.
A non-vegan version of this recipe – a beef and lentil curry – would have an estimated carbon footprint of 130.56kg CO2e, a whopping 15 times more than the vegan equivalent.
43p per portion
Each portion costs just 43p to make and will contain around 16g protein, 3.6g fat, 51.8g carbohydrates and 288 calories.
The dish was cooked by a plant-based chef Simon Bishop, who has a background in Michelin-level cookery and currently works in the education sector consulting on the benefits of plant-based nutrition in schools.
Since turning to a plant-based diet 18 months ago, Simon has lost 11 stone by eliminating all animal products from his diet whilst using his knowledge of nutrition and cookery to provide a balanced diet.
‘We are excited to show people how much of a difference they can make simply by changing the way they eat.
‘Our curry is delicious, sustainable, nutritious, cheap and easy to make – it’s the ultimate meal across all dimensions.
‘It is widely recognised that a plant-based diet is the most sustainable way of eating, and we want to spread this important message by showing people how quickly and easily they can prepare vegan meals without the need to use heavily processed ingredients.’
The environmental impact of the meal was calculated using the greenhouse gas food footprint calculator, which can also compare the total to the number of equivalent car miles.
The tool allows detailed analysis of the environmental impact of a meal, and even considers the origin of the ingredients.
The food serving event is part of The Vegan Society’s Plate Up for the Planet campaign which encourages people to start their vegan journey by eating vegan for a week.
It comes complete with a meal plan and colourful recipes, containing information about the environmental impact of each of the meals compared to a non-vegan equivalent.
‘Scientific evidence tells us that animal agriculture is incredibly damaging to our planet and that a plant-based diet is the most sustainable way of eating.
‘We need to be far bolder with our food choices if we are to protect our precious planet, and our Plate Up for the Planet campaign encourages people to do just that.
‘Cooking vegan food can be a fun experience and, as Simon’s curry recipe demonstrates, it doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive.’
Head of campaigns, policy and research at The Vegan Society
Clare Oxborrow, Food and Farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said that given ‘the huge environmental impacts of meat and dairy’, it ‘makes sense for all of us to reassess our diets for the benefit of the climate, nature and farm animals’.
‘We also need the government and food industry to make it much easier for people to access healthy, sustainable diets’, Clare added. ‘Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or an omnivore, everyone can enjoy more veg-based meals. Cheaper, great for the planet and your health, and tasty too – what’s not to love?’
Vegan diets and emissions
Going vegan can reduce your food-related emissions by up to 50%, yet only a fifth of Brits are aware that farming cows and sheep results in climate change.
Last year, the 11,500 Plate Up for the Planet participants saved the same amount of carbon dioxide as is needed to fly to the moon and back.
The lowest carbon curry event kicked off the campaign roadshow, which will visit offices, media outlets and environmental charities all over the UK to spread the vegan message.