11/15/23 "We have been signing petitions for years, and still, sometimes there isn't even a single side dish I can eat - enough is enough!"

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Results of survey on vegan options at student cafeterias published

- Over 1,000 students fill in the survey questionnaire: “More healthy food, a list of ingredients, and vegan options in cafeterias!”

Animal Friends Croatia conducted a survey on vegan options in student cafeterias and dormitories. Over 1,000 students from all Croatian universities and five polytechnics, took part in the survey. The results have confirmed what had been communicated to the group by students who complained about the lack of vegan options and staff sympathy and their ignorance.

Not enough choices, poor vegan options, staff’s lack of education, unhealthy and inadequate dishes – these are the general remarks dominating students’ survey replies. Overall, they expressed interest in having more nutritious and tasty dishes such as bean, lentil, or chickpea broths that can be enjoyed by everyone, not using eggs and milk as ingredients when unnecessary, more freedom in combining food items to avoid food waste, more frequently basic dishes with grains, legumes, and vegetables that could be consumed by all regardless of their dietary choices, which would also be healthier and more environmentally friendly.

92 % of respondents support the introduction of vegan options, of which 68 % would eat vegan dishes regularly or from time to time. The survey showed similar results regarding trying out vegan dishes – 85% of surveyed students said they would give them a go. It is noteworthy that 57% of students stated they would eat a vegan dish every day or several times a week.

Reported reasons for consuming vegan food were ethics (52.3%), health benefits (50.1%) and concern for the environment (39.4%).

Animal Friends Croatia states that vegan dishes do not necessarily need to be expensive or complicated, something many students agreed with, as seen in their comments. The group adds that data analysis has confirmed that vegan students and those who avoid meat for any reason often remain hungry and avoid student cafeterias for the lack of choice.

“It is distressing to read students’ comments and experiences, especially knowing that the situation should not be as dire as this and that the solution is simple. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see that many non-vegans would consume vegan dishes and that they would welcome the change in support of their vegan peers. This survey has shown what we have been saying all along – vegan dishes are not just for vegans - they should be introduced also for everyone else who would opt for them,” explains Animal Friends Croatia.

One comment in particular hit home comparing the situation with other European cities: “I recently visited a university in Germany which had several cafeterias, one of them being exclusively vegan, while others offered several vegan options on a daily basis. It was truly disappointing to return to Zagreb reality :(.“

Animal Friends Croatia concludes that no one should remain hungry as a student and that Croatia should follow the example of other western countries, aiming at environmentally friendly and sustainable options based on tasty plant-based meals with general appeal.

Survey results can be found here.

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