50by25: Wagamama, Beyond Meat & Others Join Campaign to Make UK Restaurant Menus 50% Vegan
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Food industry giants like Wagamama, Beyond Meat and Alexis Gauthier have joined a new campaign calling for UK restaurants to make 50% of their menus plant-based by 2025. 50by25 is a joint effort from British vegan charity Viva! and Citizen Kind co-founder Emma Osborne.
To keep pace with the climate crisis as well as other countries, the UK needs to invest £390M ($493M) in alternative proteins between 2025 and 2030, according to industry think tank the Good Food Institute (GFI) Europe. But with its volatile government’s volatile climate stance, it’s hard to know how that will happen, despite the country being Europe’s second-largest plant-based market.
One thing that might help push the needle is a concerted effort from the country’s food industry to move towards more vegan options – and that’s exactly what 50by25, a new sustainable dining campaign, is aiming to do. By 2025, can the menus at Britain’s restaurants be 50% vegan?
It’s what companies like Beyond Meat, Wagamama, Wicked Kitchen, and food professionals such as Alexis Gauthier and Derek Sarno believe- all of them have joined the 50by25 pledge.
How 50by25 will work
Launched by Viva! with Emma Osborne joining the team, 50by25 aims to reduce the UK food sector’s environmental impact – which accounts for 35% of the country’s total emissions – and encourage Brits to eat more plant-based meals.
Osborne, a long-time strategic consultant and co-founder of ethical recruitment agency Citizen Kind as well as alt protein events company Kind Earth.Tech, will lead the B2B partnerships and strategy of the campaign, working with brands, hospitality groups, distributors and wholesalers.
Government data shows that British consumers are eating the lowest amount of meat and dairy since records began, but they’re also consuming fewer fruits and vegetables. The country’s plant-based market has seen a 3% sales drop from 2021-22, as per GFI analysis, with meat alternatives down by 8%.
But vegan diets have tremendous benefits for the environment – one study found that they can cut emissions, land use and water pollution by 75% compared to meat-rich diets. Another, which underlines 50by25’s aim, revealed that replacing half of our meat and dairy consumption with plant-based alternatives can halt deforestation, reduce agricultural and land use emissions by 31%, and double overall climate benefits.
The campaign will see Viva! ask leading restaurants to replace meat dishes with plant-based alternatives, and similarly work with smaller eateries to facilitate the transition as well.
50by25 was launched at Plant Based World Expo in London (November 15-16), and Osborne described the response as “phenomenal”. “Everyone we spoke to said they thought it was a great idea and just the boost the plant-based industry needed,” she told Green Queen. “We aim to have industry-wide support to amplify this campaign, and brands need only send us their logo to kickstart their involvement.”
Asked if this was an initiative similar to challenges like Green Monday or Veganuary, she said the key lay in the timeline of December 2025, by which restaurants will have adapted their menus to 50% plant-based: “During this two-year period, we will be supporting them by sharing all the information they need to make a successful transition in the form of multimedia content.”
She added that the campaign does envisage becoming as ubiquitous in the UK as Veganuary – which saw 700,000 people sign up to its vegan pledge for January 2023 – and boosting the sector “by offering a new climate-positive way to eat out”.
How will 50by25 be represented in foodservice? “We have a logo that will feature on menus and windows, so diners can actively support restaurants who have made the pledge,” explained Osborne. “We will have a map in February showing all the outlets in the UK, and ask green-savvy customers to vote with their feet and their forks and show the industry that this is what they want.”
A roster of food giants and acclaimed chefs
Wagamama, a pioneer in the sustainable dining space, made half its menu vegan in 2021 and has endorsed this pledge. IKEA has also made a similar pledge for 2025, and Burger King for 2030. Seeing them make these promises “without prompting shows that this is what restaurants need to do to lower their carbon footprint”, says Osborne.
50by25 will be working with Wagamama executive chef Steve Mangleshot, who will produce videos to guide chefs in the preparation of plant-based dishes. Other partners include Michelin-starred chef Alexis Gauthier, who owns three vegan restaurants in London, Rishim Sachdeva from plant-forward eatery Tendril, and plant-based chef Derek Sarno, founder of Wicked Kitchen. These experts will share tips and tricks, and restaurants that sign up will be able to access an exclusive Chef Insider Secrets video series.
Wicked Kitchen and vegan giant Beyond Meat are the first two brands who have signed up for the campaign. “Brits can still enjoy their favourite meal while making a difference to the planet simply by shifting the protein at the centre of the plate to plant-based meat, no sacrifice required,” said Steve Parsons, the company’s UK & Ireland foodservice manager.
“By crafting plant-based dishes that put taste and satisfaction front and centre, chefs and restaurants can profoundly shift eating habits and attract a new wave of devoted customers. These plant-based menu items aren’t just alternatives; they’re top picks,” added Sarno. “This is where true innovation blossoms. It’s where sustainability pairs with ‘surprise and delight’, and what’s been missing are the culinary leaders who truly understand taste, choice and impact.”
50by25 says endorsing the campaign will help companies achieve their ESG goals, while also increasing their customer base. “We know the UK is often a barometer for plant-based food, and so hope to be able to spread the love after a successful first 12 months campaign,” said Osborne. “People visiting the stand joked that it would be great if we went to France and asked them to go 10% by 2025!”
“The challenge French cuisine presents is one I am savouring and the creativity it has unleashed in me, has kept our diners entertained, happy and surprised,” said Gauthier, who transformed his flagship restaurant into a fully vegan kitchen in 2021. “50by25 offers the opportunity for UK chefs to embrace all the goodness the plant kingdom has to offer and add a sustainability and kindness lens to their work.”
As for the sceptics, who pointed out that “people like meat” at the campaign’s launch, even they agreed a 50-50 scenario – much like blended meat products – is a realistic target. “This campaign offers the hospitality industry a unique way to stand out from their competitors, whilst lowering their carbon emissions and keeping profits up,” said Osborne. “It’s win-win-win.”