Sustainable Food and Catering

Studenten aan tafel

Erasmus University Rotterdam wants to offer its students and staff healthy and sustainable food options. Together with our caterers and suppliers, EUR continuously works to improve and stimulate varied and healthy food choices, the use of local and seasonal products and the prevention of food waste. These measures should result in a sustainable (food) chain and a lower environmental footprint.

Plates with vegan food on a table

Vegetarian catering

A diet without meat is much less harmful to the environment. Therefore, since 1 July 2023, EUR has a modified catering policy for employees. Since then, catering orders at Vitam can only contain vegetarian products. It is also impossible to order milk or buttermilk. This vegetarian catering policy applies to all orders and arrangements paid for by the EUR, from lunches to receptions and from breakfasts to events. The aim is to reduce EUR's environmental impact.

New policy for catering orders

The catering policy is adjusted as of 1 July 2023. Discover the new, more sustainable rules..

Vegan meal at EUR

Special offer on plant-based meals in Vitam restaurants 

Choosing for plant-based food helps reducing our carbon footprint, is good for your health and is in line with our ambition to move towards a plant-based campus in 2030. To encourage the EUR community to embrace plant-based diet, EUR Sustainability Programme launched a temporary subsidy program from September 4 to November 22, offering up to a 50% discount on plant-based meals at Vitam's restaurants on the Woudestein campus. During this period, the plant-based, hot meals costed € 2,62 instead of € 5,25. The goal of the temporary promotion was to lower the threshold to try vegan food and make more people acquainted with it.

Since the beginning of the promotion, there was a significant increase in the consumption of vegan meals. The division into vegan and non-vegan (=not only meat, but also vegetarian) has almost completely reversed during the campaign period. In total, 20,722 plant-based meals were sold during the campaign period, representing 75% of all meals sold in this period. 

Permanent 25 % Price Reduction on Vegan Meals  

The temporary vegan meal promotion was a great success.  Students voiced their support for the initiative through a petition organized by the Erasmus Sustainability Hub (ESH). They collected 1,547 signatures from EUR students advocating the indefinite extension of the vegan meal deal promotion. The students' voices did not go unnoticed. The discount promotion on plant-based meals was such a success that Vitam has decided to permanently reduce the price of vegan meals, making plant-based options more affordable for the EUR community. From 22 November 2023, vegan meals are approximately 25% cheaper than the original price.   

Tap water

We encourage drinking tap water by providing water taps, where you can easily fill your own bottle. Such water taps can be found in the following buildings:

  • Polak Building;
  • University Library;
  • Sanders Building;
  • Langeveld Building.

Outside on the campus grounds there are 4 water taps as well. There is a Join the Pipe water tap in front of SPAR University and there are 3 KRNWTR+ water taps:

  • at the intersection of Institutes Avenue with Collegelaan (near the tennis courts);
  • in front of the Erasmus Building (near the pond)
  • at the entrance to the campus garden, near the bee hives.

Erasmus Pavilion

The Erasmus Pavilion uses local, organic and seasonal products as much as possible. In addition, there is a changing weekly menu to prevent food waste. Furthermore, all disposables such as coffee cups, napkins and to-go trays are biodegradable and the Pavilion no longer sells and uses plastic bottles and straws.

Erasmus Sport Cafe

Erasmus Sport Café

Sustainability is also an important theme in the Erasmus Sport Café. There are several vegetarian and vegan products on the menu and a lot of organic products are used (all coffee, tea and eggs for example and also all the meat at our BBQs). The vegetarian "bitterballen" are becoming increasingly popular among our guests, every Monday the lunch tip is vegetarian (Meatless Monday) and on request we also arrange fully vegetarian lunches or dinners for larger groups.

Vitam sustainability initiatives

Vitam,EUR's campus caterer, is committed to helping people choose a responsible and vital lifestyle. Vitam likes to prepare fresh foods using seasonal vegetables and fruit from the Netherlands and regional products such as Rotterdam cheese, because of the low food milage. Furthermore, Vitam takes the following initiatives for sustainable catering:

  • No disposable cups are offered in the Vitam coffee corners. People can have their own cup filled or use Vitam's system of reusable cups. After use, the cup can be returned in exchange for a voucher, which can later be used to get a clean cup.
  • Sustainable procurement has increased in recent years from about 30% to about 40% of total catering procurement. EUR's goal is to increase this to at least 50% in the coming years. Sustainable meaning: products with an independent label, sourced seasonally with transparent origins, with as little food miles and environmental impact as possible. 
  • At EUR, about 20% of the cucumbers purchased, about 60% of the red peppers purchased and about 25% of the round tomatoes purchased are class II, the "nobody's perfect" group.
  • The share of healthy products sold has increased in recent years from less than 40% to almost 60% of total sales.
  • In VITAM's coffee corners they serve VITAMUTZ certified coffee, with a CO2 neutral certificate.
  • For VITAM staff on the EUR, contrary to the standard contract catering collective agreement, all kilometers from home to work are reimbursed, even if they come on foot or by bicycle.

Sustainable coffee machines

The vending machines for coffee, tea and other hot drinks are operated by our partners Maas and Jacobs Douwe Egberts; both of them are ISO 14001 certified. Only sustainably sourced coffee is used, with the corresponding Rainforest Alliance seal of approval. The tea is FairTrade. Also good to know:

  • Used coffee beans are collected as a separate waste stream and processed as green waste.
  • There are no disposable cups offered at the coffee machines.
  • During vacation periods, some of the coffee machines may be turned off. This prevents unnecessary power consumption and the loss of fresh milk.
  • The coffee machines are A+ or A++ certified and have an automatic standby mode.
  • The coffee machines are approximately 90% recyclable at the end of their useful life.
  • Maas is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and is affiliated with MADE BLUE, an organization that invests in water projects in developing countries. For every liter of water from a Maas coffee machine, one liter of clean drinking water is donated.
Food lab

Erasmus Food Lab  

The Erasmus Food Lab offers professional cooking classes for students and employees. All plant based, with transparent CO2 accounting and great recipes. The Food lab is connected to several scientific researches from several faculties and offers a place to practice theory. Moreover, it organizes the Co-Ex challenge: a vegan food competition between the three biggest faculties of our university (ESL, RSM and ESE).  In 2023, together with HR department and Erasmus Sport, FoodLab organized special Vital cooking workshops for staff. During these fully-booked workshop participants learned how to make a delicious, healthy and sustainable meal.  

Read more about the Food Lab
Food wall

Healthy food wall in Langeveld Building

In Langeveld Building, we've placed a "healthy food wall" vending machine, where students and staff can find fresh and healthy meals which can be heated up in the microwave next to the machine. As a result, healthy warm meals are always available, even when the campus restaurants are closed. There is always a vegan option available as well.

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