Vegan Teen Celebrity Chef Omari McQueen Is Making School Meals Meatless
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Omari McQueen, the UK’s youngest plant-based chef, is now working on a new project to promote meatless menus in schools across the country. In partnership with British vegan brand Meatless Farm, the award-winning teen chef will be churning out plant-based recipes and video content to encourage sustainable and healthy eating habits, and co-develop meatless menus for school caterers.
Omari McQueen, the youngest award-winning vegan chef in the UK, YouTube star and founder of plant-based dip brand Dipalicious, is now working with Meatless Farm to promote animal-free school meals in the country. The campaign, called For Kids by Kids, will provide plant-based recipes and educational content, as well as engage schools to develop new meatless menus for children.
For Kids by Kids
As schools reopen for the new Autumn term, Meatless Farm and McQueen’s new For Kids by Kids initiative aims to promote plant-based eating across schools in the country. According to the vegan meat brand, the campaign will run in two phases, with the first focused on spreading awareness and boosting vegan education, while the second part is dedicated to co-creating new menus with schools.
The content, which will include everything from recipes to facts about plant-based diets and health tips, will be shared through an online microsite and social media channels. 13-year-old McQueen, who has been a vegan since 8 years of age, boasts a large following on his own YouTube and Instagram accounts, and has recently landed a vegan cooking show with the BBC.
Sharing more about the campaign, the nation’s youngest TV chef said: “I am so excited to partner with Meatless Farm and to be able to share my love of cooking with such a forward-thinking brand.”
“I am extremely passionate about the sustainability of food and teaching my generation more about where their food is sourced and the long-term environmental impact our food choices can have,” he added.
Environmental impact of meat
Part of the educational content provided by For Kids by Kids will focus on the sustainability of food, a topic that children are becoming increasingly interested in, with a recent poll indicating that 42% of British school kids are worried about the environment.
Animal-based foods are among the most carbon-intensive products in the food system, with meat and dairy production driving nearly a fifth of GHG emissions. The latest Meat Atlas 2021 report revealed that just 5 of the world’s largest meat and dairy companies together produce more emissions than oil giants like Exxon or BP.
McQueen, as part of the initiative, will lead a series of short videos together with Meatless Farm culinary chef Ben Davy, to share more about why school meals and sustainable plant-based eating will be crucial to lowering our individual carbon footprint.
These videos will also recreate classic dishes using Meatless Farm’s range of plant-based meatballs, sausages and mince, demonstrating how vegan food can be just as delicious and easy to cook at home.
Getting schools to go meatless
Meatless Farm says that its foodservice-focused campaign could have a huge impact on promoting healthier and more sustainable choices in the British population, in line with the government’s new National Food Strategy that recommends a 30% reduction in meat intake.
In the UK, more than 1.4 million children claim free school meals, making plant-based school meals one of the key ways to encourage and familiarise the young population with vegan food.
“School caterers are playing an increasingly important role in food culture and we are committed to educating children on food from a young age to help them make healthier choices for themselves and the planet,” said Michael Hunter, managing director of Meatless Farm.
“With the help of Omari, we want to achieve a heightened level of support for caterers and a recognition of the role that plant-based food can play in offering nutritional, sustainable and cost-effective meals for children.”
US food tech giant Impossible Foods has also focused on school meals as part of its mission to displace animal agriculture, recently securing Child Nutrition Labels (CN Labels) from the USDA as it gears up to enter the K-12 market for the new school year.
All images courtesy of Meatless Farm.