Workplace shifts help accelerate the plant-based food movement
What if corporations started making positive food changes in the workplace? Like replacing daily milk or creamer offerings with plant-based alternatives, like almond milk, or soy creamer. Or, for periodic company-provided lunches (as companies do) ordering from a vegan restaurant.
Think about the purchasing power that wholesale buyers like big companies and restaurants have. Imagine if every company made these kinds of small, incremental changes. Yes, individual consumer buyer behavior matters, but so too does the buying behavior of wholesale, mass-quantity purchasers: companies, restaurants, and school cafeterias to name a few. When they move, industries move, and the companies they support notice enormous gains and wins.
A San Diego-based cybersecurity company made the switch recently after some employees got together and wrote an open letter (template below) asking the company to "please replace the daily company-provided cow's milk with a plant-based alternative.” In the letter, the reasons why they should make this switch were laid out. It must have been compelling because almost immediately the management approved and the following week, fridges across their offices were stocked with almond milk (replacing the cow’s milk they used to provide).
Here were a few reasons given as to why the company should make the switch:
Over the last few years as consumer demand has increased for nut-based milk, employees have taken it upon themselves to bring their own into the office. [There was a photo of multiple company fridges showing the “milk” shelf consumed by plant-based milks that people brought from home.]
Beyond this workplace observational evidence, the numbers on a broad scale paint the picture; the purchase of plant-based milk have soared 61 percent from 2012-2016 as dairy-milk sales have witnessed declines.
More than 65 percent of the world’s population is lactose sensitive (according to the US National Library of Medicine), and science-based evidence suggests that we don’t need dairy to supply the proper amount of calcium and other essential nutrients.
There is much history of government-backed programs and dairy lobbies that have used deceptive methods to make the general public believe they need milk.
Dairy production as we know it today (via “factory farming”) is detrimental to the environment. Cow farming at mass scale is a significant contributor to carbon emissions and utilizes mass amounts of water (due to the water involved in everything from feeding cows, cleaning facilities, dealing with waste, etc.)
Most dairy farming is not a bucolic scene, with cows grazing in pastures. Much of the factory farming today subjects cows to systematic suffering.
Almond beverages (and other nut-based milks) are shelf-stable, and can be kept and stored for a long period of time, leading to less waste of unused, spoiled milk. And, the proposed option was also more cost effective and would lead to a nearly 30 percent reduction in cost.
Change happens when you ask for it. So write a letter, have a meeting, get other backers in your company, and ask for change. Change does not mean the office needs to offer only plant-based options, or go full vegan. You can ask your company to support little things, like hosting Meatless Mondays or participating in Veganuary.
Do you know of a corporate entity that made a shift like this? Drop a line about it in the comments below.
Do you want to ask your company for change? Download this template (that you can customize) which will help you ask your company to replace their dairy offering with a plant-based alternative. Click HERE.
(Restaurants, too, are companies that have potential to affect change on a mass scale. Check out this post on how PlantBasedPopUp is working to help increase the number of plant-based items that restaurants offer, HERE.)