Vision for Food & Beverage at WUR: Healthy, Sustainable and Inclusive

March 3, 2022

With the vision for Food & Beverage (F&B), WUR is showing that it wants to make all the catering facilities and activities at WUR healthy, sustainable and inclusive. Making as much positive ecological and social impact, while continuing to develop and simultaneously guaranteeing availability, quality and taste is a challenging task.

President of the Executive Board Louise O. Fresco supports these developments. ‘As a green and sustainable university, it is important that WUR continues to make steps toward greater sustainability. I’m happy to see that healthier and more sustainable catering facilities have sprung up on campus, offering less meat and more plant-based proteins. And the employment of people who are disadvantaged in the job market and the reduction of waste and packaging are also favourable developments.’

How are we going about realising this vision?

Saskia Dijkhuis, policy staff member at the WUR Facilities and Services: ‘We are focusing on eight themes with the vision for F&B: health and vitality, protein transition, reducing food waste, seasonal, fresh and local, sustainable management, packaging-conscious, innovative and inclusion as a core value. These themes are based on the WUR strategic plan.

The implementation of these themes can already be seen in the range of products on offer in our on-campus restaurants and kiosks: fresh, with healthy, mostly plant-based alternatives. You can also see it from the sustainability label on the coffee and the completely circular way we use coffee cups. But the F&B vision goes further than this. Think, for example, about the (re)use of raw materials, packaging, sustainable forms of work and making contracts with like-minded partners. At WUR, we are also participating in initiatives with our caterers, such as the National Meat Free Week that starts again on Monday 7 March.

We have already implemented the vision in the recent tenders for catering for the WUR buildings Aurora, Impulse and Omnia. This has resulted in four food outlets in Aurora, including a plant-based outlet and a world food one. People who are disadvantaged in the job market are being offered a pleasant place to work in these outlets through Jops (the winner of the Future of Food & Beverage @ WUR Hackaton in 2020). Coffee and tea is served in reusable Billie cups or you can bring your own mug. For Omnia, the catering facilities being introduced this year will be developed further in the coming period. And there are lots of other examples and initiatives that are already underway or will get going in the coming years.’

Research and collaboration

‘But this is not the only way we are implementing the F&B vision. We are also researching new applications in the catering world in cooperation with researchers at WUR and other external parties. One is example is the development of a monitor for caterers that gives them insight into the distribution of plant versus animal proteins in their supply chain and how they can increase the amount of plant proteins. Or research into the potential applications of a true pricing system for catering products, whereby environmental damage is also included in the price.

So, we are implementing this F&B vision in close cooperation with our caterers, researchers and other partners. To make the transition from a ‘disposable economy’ to a circular, sustainable and pleasant living environment,’ Saskia concludes.