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Sustainability

 

Plant-based possibilities 

Friday 20th January 2023 saw students and staff alike gather at Wolfson College to explore the possibilities of plant-based food. The event itself was a collaboration between Cambridge University Press & Assessment, The University Sustainability Team and the Wolfson College Sustainability and Conservation Hub. The event also saw plant-based meat alternative suppliers like Heura, Omni and EatPlanted work together with the fabulous Wolfson Catering team in pursuit of providing the best example of why you should eat more plant-based, tasty food! 

Panel 1

The event kicked off with a stacked panel of experts discussing the current problems with our global food system and some of the ways campaigns like Veganuary, and producers and charitable organisations like Cambridge Sustainable Food, work to combat common problems and challenges. We heard how eating more plant-based can have a positive impact on greenhouse gases, land use, water use and pollution. 

First panel at the plant-based possibilities event.  

Our first panel discussion 

We then heard three producers of plant-based meat alternatives state the case for why their products address the challenge of providing an easy way to eat more plant-based food. Mitch Lee from Heura set out how they aim to create meat successors, not alternatives, as part of a shift towards both tasty and nutritious options. Olivia Sinclair, a Cambridge University Alumna herself, made the case for Eatplanted, the Swiss vegan brand providing high protein mock meats made from peas, sunflower and oats with the addition of water and rapeseed oil. We also heard from Pratyush Bose from Green Monday who make Omnifoods products. Prats described how Omni’s reach has grown from a mostly Asian market to one that is increasingly global. He also gave us his own perspective on why he is vegan.

Our final speaker, Gemma Birley from Cambridge Sustainable Food, brought our focus back to the city of Cambridge, discussing how and why we should contribute to their Gold Food Campaign. Whether this be signing the Cambridge Climate Change Charter or getting involved with their next Food and Climate Festival, it was clear that there is a positive groundswell of community support for a more sustainable food system for Cambridge.  

Samples by EatPlanted Sample burger from Heura 

Samples from EatPlanted and Heura 

Of our first panel, Adam Swift, Communications Co-ordinator for Estate Division, wrote that: 

“It is clear that systemic change is needed in our food systems to mitigate against many of the environmental issues we face.  

Plant-based Possibilities was an inspirational event showing how straightforward it can be to lighten our footprint on the planet, simply by thinking a little bit more about what we eat.  

It was empowering to learn from the different speakers how our food choices can make such a difference, and about the huge variety of plant-based options that are now available to us.  

A big thumbs-up to the catering teams for the delicious and nourishing food provided for lunch!” 

Lunch time!

After a brief Q&A with our experts, we were treated to a delicious lunch that featured some of the products we had just heard about. Whether you tasted some Heura chilli, an Omni Ocean burger or sampled some Eatplanted pulled pork, everyone I spoke to was incredibly impressed with the quality of the cooking. Particular thanks and kudos must go to the Wolfson catering team as their adaptability and skill really made the food something to write home about. Not to be outdone however, the CUP&A catering team also provided some absolutely decadent tofu chocolate brownies as well as local Plant-based chef, Antonia Ricciardi, showcasing some Italian fare.