Finland has always been a leader when it comes to public meals – in 1948, it was the first country in the world to require free meals in all schools. Now Helsinki, which serves meals to 50,000 students a day, is leading the way when it comes to vegetarian school meals.
Vegetarian menu items have been required in school meals in since 2007. Since 2010, school canteens have had one dedicated vegetarian day a week, and in 2015, this went up to twice a week. This shift was controversial when it was first proposed, but just a year after the policy was instituted, over two-thirds of Helsinki residents thought it was a good idea – a great example of how programs like this can change minds about plant-based diets!
The Helsinki schools have shown this can work! Now Helsinki should try it out in other public canteens.