78% of hospital staff want to eat more vegan food.
Vegan vending machines have come to Hillingdon Hospital in Greater London as part of an effort to upgrade food options. The decision comes after an NHS survey found that 78 percent of the hospital staff would choose to eat vegan meals if available.
Demand for vegan food is high in the UK; the number of trademarks for vegan food products doubled last year, according to the Guardian. Demand also spiked during peak lockdown amid the coronavirus.
“There are now more vegan products on supermarket shelves than ever before.,” Daisy Divoka, an associate at law firm EMW told the Guardian. “Multinational corporations have identified this as a fast-growing sector and are competing to register their trademarks with the aim of capturing and defending a share of the market.”
500 Vegan Vending Machines By 2023
The new vegan vending machine launch is a partnership between Hillingdon, Open Kitchen Co., one of the UK’s leading subscription companies, and Vibrant Vegan Co., which makes frozen vegan meals. If successful, the program aims to expand to more than 500 vegan-stocked machines throughout the UK by 2023.
“It’s great to be working with the NHS and providing staff and visitors with hot, tasty and nutritious meals 24/7,” Liz Kenny, Director of Open Kitchen Co., said in a statement. “The future of vending is exciting.”
The “high-tech” machines all feature touchless COVID-proof technology, advanced software, an oven that can cook meals from frozen in under 4 minutes. Eighteen Vibrant Vegan meals will stock the machines which can either be heated on site or frozen for reheating later.
“As we all know, the NHS has been doing an incredible job of keeping the country afloat during this terrible pandemic, and it’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Open Kitchen Co. to try and make a difference,” said Iain Burke-Hamilton, founder of Vibrant Vegan. “We’re confident the partnership is going to improve the quality of NHS staff diets across the country.”
Meals are now available at Hillingdon for £4.95 or less.