This Veganuary: Making Veganism and Nutrition Accessible for the NHS

5 January 2021
Winter Vegetables on wooden table

As the market of vegan products has grown dramatically in recent years, this Veganuary is more important than ever to the NHS. According to the latest figures from 2020 the number of trademarks registered for vegan food products in the UK has risen by 128%, compared to 2019.

So, it is important that we adapt to suit the changing demand and make vegan food more accessible in an NHS setting, not just during Veganuary.

There are also great benefits to a well-planned vegan diet, it has been shown to help prevent chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. See our Useful Links section for further information on this according to the British Dietetic Association, 2017.

Fortification to Support Nutrient Dense Diets

It can be difficult to provide enough nutrients in a smaller volume with a plant-based diet. Fortification in these cases can support nutrient dense diets for patients. And there are products out there which provide this.

Here are my Tips in This Area:

  1. Offer low sugar and low salt vegan breakfast cereals fortified with B12, Zinc, and iron.
  2. Fortified plant-based milk and dairy alternatives, for example, yoghurts contain added calcium. This helps prevent bone fractures as well as vitamins B12 and D.
  3. Vegan spreads such as sunflower spread, are fortified with vitamins such as Vitamin D.
  4. Using rapeseed oil to cook (rather than corn/sunflower oils) provides essential omega fatty acids.

Your local food service specialist dietitian can advise about the provision of vegan meals for any nutritionally well and nutritionally vulnerable patients, so we recommend contacting them to discuss options.

Supporting Vegan and Vegetarian Diets in the NHS

NHS Supply Chain: Food will share a range of recipes that cater to vegetarian and vegan demand throughout veganuary and over the next 12 months. For each recipe, we will clearly mark (on the approved product list) the vegan food products that you can order from our Multi-temperature Distribution framework.
We are keen to support vegan and vegetarian options in the NHS and ensure vegan options are more accessible to catering and procurement teams.
We can also work closely with your team towards a particular goal. For example, in June 2020 we worked with the team at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to produce vegan and vegetarian grab-and-go style recipes to support their reduction of meat on the menu by 20%.

The dishes you created were great and so well received. They helped a great deal towards achieving our 20% less but better meat target and were very popular.” Andy Jones, Head of Facilities
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Picture of NHS Supply Chain: Food in-house dietitian Joanna Instone.

See our Useful Links section to download our Vegan Chick Pea, Sweet Potato, Oat and Almond Crumble recipe. To find out more about recipes or about other ways we can support you during Veganuary speak to your food account manager.

Article written by NHS Supply Chain: Food in-house dietitian Joanna Instone.

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  • Vegan Chick Pea Crumble Recipe

    Download and share our delicious recipe - ingredients include chick peas, sweet potatoes and oats.