Petition to add Beyond Burgers to campus dining locations hopes to encourage sustainable practices at MU

A student activist has created a petition for Campus Dining Services to add sustainable food options to menus across campus.
Graphic by Jacob LaGesse

Plaza 900 Dining employee Zachary Cook, a vegan activist also known as Zman the Vegan, has recently started a petition to get sustainable meat alternative Beyond Burgers placed on Campus Dining Services menus across campus.

“The petition isn't necessarily about just completely switching them out and mandating that we go to Beyond Burgers, but even just having that option could save a lot of resources and make us go in the right direction of sustainability,” Cook said.

Beyond Meat has put in a lot of research for its products to make them healthy and sustainable for consumers.

According to a report by the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Services, Beyond Meat is an environmentally-friendly option.

“The Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has >99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use than a ¼ pound of U.S. beef,” the report said.

Eric Cartwright, Campus Dining Services executive chef, said in an email that campus dining has tested various meat substitutes and listens to student input and feedback to shape dining options.

“Students approach CDS regularly with interest in specific items,” Cartwright said. “We do our best to provide it, oftentimes featuring it as a limited time offer and gathering feedback.”

However, Cartwright said that price significantly impacts decisions CDS makes when deciding what food options are put in dining locations.

With concern for the planet and climate change, new options and resources are being presented to help. According to Cartwright, CDS already provides two vegan burgers and vegan chicken fingers as plant-based options across campus.

However, Cook believes having the Beyond Burgers on campus could be beneficial to students that follow plant-based diets or just want to have more environmentally-friendly food options. Cartwright said CDS is always looking for new products that help the sustainability of the campus.

“I see that we could do a lot more and there's a lot of people that do care,” Cook said. “I think they just need that fire, that inspiration, to get the ball rolling.”

Edited by Sophie Stephens |

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