According to a new survey, one in eight employees would support the idea of a meat-free office. With Veganuary less than a month away, companies are being encouraged to make plant-based food and drink more accessible to their staff. The report highlights the need for companies to cater for vegan diets or risk losing the next generations of Gen Z talent.
The survey, conducted by RAMONA’S, asked employees in the UK about their eating habits during work hours, revealing that some 12% of UK companies have stopped offering healthy food choices, despite rising interest in veganism, especially amongst younger generations. Over a quarter (26%) of under-35s would like their company to provide improved vegan options at work, with the survey further revealing that an average of two employees in every UK small business is regularly skipping lunch due to lack of options.
What employees want from their companies in 2022
- One in eight employees would support their company in becoming ‘meat-free’. For employees under 25 years of age, this figure rises to one in four.
- UK companies are not being inclusive enough for those with alternative dietary choices — 40% of employees want their company to provide more vegetarian or vegan food options.
- A quarter of employees want businesses to encourage people to eat away from their desks. A further 25% want their companies to support taking full lunch breaks to place greater importance on healthy eating in the workplace.
- Two in five employees would like their company to offer a lunch scheme that promotes healthy eating across the entire workforce. People also placed high importance on healthy snack options for the office.
Ramona Hazan, founder of RAMONA’s, believes that companies should be doing more to accommodate multiple lifestyle choices in the workplace: “2021 was a really popular year for meat-free dieting and the momentum doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. According to Waitrose & Partner’s Food & Drink Report 21-22, ‘Climatarianism’, a diet focused on reducing your carbon footprint, is gaining popularity, with consumers more conscious than ever before of their impact on their environment.
Following last year’s Veganuary initiative, 82% of participants maintained a dramatic reduction in their animal product consumption, with 40% of those who had participated planning on staying vegan full time. The findings from our research show that workers are really struggling with healthy eating in the workplace. Employers have to be more aware of what they’re providing for their vegan members of staff, and for workers looking to embrace more green and eco-friendly initiatives.
“In the meantime, for those who find it easier to ‘grab and go’, supermarkets are presenting vegan lunch options for workers who are conscious of the need to eat healthily. Sainsbury’s ‘Lunch’ concept, for instance, offers workers the chance to choose healthy and nutritious lunches that don’t compromise on taste and convenience, whilst still appealing to vegans and vegetarians.”
Tracey Hudson, executive director at the HR Dept, said: “Companies in the UK should be embracing more vegan-friendly offices because it can help with recruitment and retention of staff. Promoting a vegan-friendly office can help attract candidates for recruitment purposes and it’s also a good way to demonstrate the type of culture you have in your business, i.e. a culture that is more open, welcoming, inclusive and environmentally conscious around sustainability.
“With Veganuary coming up, some employers may choose to offer vegan food for any buffets or events that they put on during January. Whereas longer-term goals could be focused on sustainably sourced desks and other office equipment. Getting rid of those old leather chairs, for example, and replacing them with a sustainable option that doesn’t include animal products. For those companies with sustainable targets, embracing vegan-friendly office spaces could have a great impact.”