Cafetaria Erasmus School of Economics wins sustainable food challenge

Plates with vegan food on a table
Patrick Groenen (dean ESE) and Ellen van Schoten (EUR Executive Board)
Ronald de Groot

Erasmus Food Lab organised the Co-Ex challenge: a competition between the 3 biggest faculties of our university. The goal? Stimulating Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Erasmus School of Law (ESL) and Erasmus School of Management (RSM) to choose vegan food options, and with this, increasing the sustainability and healthiness of food consumption.

Point system

The Co-Ex (competing for excellence) project started in February 2022 and had two sides. Erasmus Food Lab explains in their End Report: “On the one hand, we looked at the banqueting orders the faculties made at VITAM, the university’s caterer. We calculated the carbon footprint of the orders and used this to calculate the average carbon footprint per order the faculties made each month. 

On the other hand, we wanted the students to be involved. Therefore, we had the “Your Recipe in the Canteen”. Every week you could find a vegan meal in the VITAM canteens that had been sent in by a student. By buying this meal, you could earn points for your faculty. To stimulate participation, students could also send in photos of them buying the meals which would also add to the points.

With the points divided, each faculty got a score every month.The project was live from February till June and the sum of the monthly scores each month determined the end scores: ESL came in third place with an end score of 100, RSM came in second with 110 points, and ESE was by far the best with 225 points.”

Plates with vegan food on a table

Open conversations

After this serious battle that took place from February till June, on the 17th of October Erasmus School of Economics was named the winner. The award was handed over by Ellen van Schoten (EUR Executive Board) to Patrick Groenen, dean of ESE. Van Schoten mentioned in her speech: “Sustainability is a very important topic at EUR: we want to turn knowledge into concrete actions to make impact. Sustainability is a continuous process. We are always in conversation with different parties and different stakeholders within our Erasmian community.”

“We want to turn knowledge into concrete actions to make impact”

Ellen van Schoten

EUR Executive Board

She shared that recently, a Vegan Round-table was organised with people who support the idea of a vegan campus, and people who are against it. Van Schoten: “Open conversations and discussion are very important and valuable. After all, a critical mindset is one of our Erasmian values!”

Delicious recipes

Organiser Erasmus Food Lab in their end report: “While doing this project, we came across some bumps in the road, since it was the first time Co-Ex was executed. But it was a fun experience, seeing (and eating) all the different and delicious recipes in the canteen and awaiting the monthly winners with ESE taking the overall first place!”

Some of the recipes can be found on the website of Erasmus Food Lab.

“It was a fun experience, seeing and eating all the different and delicious recipes in the canteen”

Erasmus Food Lab

More information

The Erasmus Food Lab is an organisation aiming to promote and raise awareness about sustainable and healthy food. It is an experimental playground for research, teaching and
marketing related to plant-based foods. Visit their website

This project was funded by the Erasmus Trustfonds

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