MenoPerPiù: our project to change canteens arrives at the University of Florence

Valentina Taglietti
Food Policy Manager

The work of MenoPerPiù (LessForMore), our programme that helps companies to promote a healthy, plant-based diet with a low environmental impact, is expanding. Tonight we will be at the Scienzestate (Summer of Science) event organised by the University of Florence.

For a few months now, MenoPerPiù has been in dialogue with the University of Florence and the Tuscan Regional Agency for the Right to University Education (ARDSU) with the aim of increasing plant-based offerings in the Florentine university canteen. ARDSU, which deals with accommodation and collective university catering at the regional level, responded positively from the outset, organising refresher courses on plant-based cuisine for its staff.

To present some of the dishes offered on the new university menu and to raise awareness on the subject, MenoPerPiù and ARDSU will be participating in the Scienzestate  event tonight, from 5 pm to 10 pm. In addition to informative meetings with researchers, we will also have games and activities for adults and children alike: the objective is to explain the impact of our diet on the planet, which we will do with numbers at hand.

However, we did not stop here: we also asked for the canteen to serve a 100% plant-based menu tonight, and our wish was granted. The two pasta courses and two main dishes that included ingredients of animal origin will be replaced with plant-based dishes, whose recipes are signed by our chef Emanuele Giorgione.

To quantify the greenhouse gas and water savings, we estimated the carbon and water footprint of the menu before and after our intervention. We relied on an open-source database and calculated the impact of each dish, then multiplied this by the number of servings that will be prepared for this evening. The calculation is indicative, as we do not have the Life Cycle Assessment for each product nor do we know the actual energy consumption of the kitchen equipment.

In this way, we discovered that we will have saved:

  • 75% of CO2 emissions, equal to 439 kg of CO2eq: three times the consumption required by a car to cover the distance from Reggio Calabria to Bolzano
  • 33% of water, i.e. over 145,000 litres: the annual consumption of 200 people!

The goal of the DSU is to make at least 30% of their range 100% plant-based: of the three pasta dishes and three main dishes served every day, one will always be plant-based, as will all three side dishes. And that means no more peas with bacon or vegetables au gratin with cheese, but many new offerings that are suitable for everyone.

Valentina Taglietti and Emanuele Giorgione in the cafeteria of the Bergamo office of Alfaparf, an Italian multinational of cosmetic products that has joined the MenoPerPiù project.
© Essere Animali

We must act: the future is plant-based

26% of the Italian population are eliminating or reducing their meat consumption and 1.5 million people in the country are already on a vegan diet. But much more can be done: university canteens are important places to take action, which is why our collaboration with MenoPerPiù is only the beginning of an important project throughout the national territory.