Zack Moss and Jonathan Pont from Anthesis are passionate about promoting a more sustainable food culture while showing that it can be cheap and tasty at the same time. In this blog they share their learning and tips from the Eating on a Budget initiative which challenges colleagues to spend just £1 a day on lunch, raising awareness about food waste and food insecurity.
In early 2019, Anthesis’ global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) group asked our 500 colleagues globally to vote on the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) they wished to support until the end of 2020. With 17 worthy goals to support, SDG2 Zero Hunger came out on top. Since then, our colleagues have risen to the challenge and rolled out a variety of global and local campaigns to support this goal, focussing on three key pillars:
• Education – Invite expert guest speakers to our office to inform us about the issues surrounding hunger
• Engagement – Volunteer at local food banks, fundraise for a relevant charity, food-related challenges/pledges for employees to undertake such as Going for Gold
• Innovation – Offer our expertise to organisations who support Zero Hunger and raise awareness externally, through social media and our own networks.
Since the initiative’s inception, our UK CSR group has been busy engaging colleagues in many ways, including our current Eating on a Budget: 5 Day Lunch Challenge. For this, we were tasked to spend just £1 a day on lunch over a five day period. Taking place in the office during January, we tracked our spending and kept notes of our experiences along the way. This campaign aims to encourage us to be more mindful about food waste and to bring awareness to the challenges many people across the UK face daily concerning food insecurity.
This challenge has been so well-received in the Anthesis Bristol office that we decided to step it up a gear by extending it until the end of February with everyone scoring a point for every £1 lunch they consume in the office. Employees across the business have got stuck in, with one of the highlights being our Director Toby Parker cooking a huge batch of his delicious homemade ‘Tob-beans’ complete with jacket potatoes and salad, which he brought in to share with everyone. As an incentive, the colleague with the most points receives the prize of two £1 lunches cooked by us.
Learnings and tips include:
• Meal costs are estimated on the cost of ingredients per portion, so batch cooking and leftovers are the easiest way of sticking within the limited budget
• Shared lunches with colleagues have been an invaluable way to create a full meal and great for our social wellbeing too
• Our actions have encouraged the reduction of food waste, processed food, and packaging
• The challenge forces us to eat in-season, locally grown fruit and vegetables
• People have become more aware of how much they spend on their lunch and have saved themselves money in the process
Overall, employees have said they are starting to approach meals differently, having seen how easy it is to make the change. Furthermore, to encourage long-term behaviour change, we are creating a recipe book with a reviews section for Bristol colleagues to share their favourite £1 lunch recipes.
We encourage your workplace to give it a go and take on the challenge of eating lunch on a £1 budget, helping to make a positive change to our community’s food system by promoting a more sustainable food culture at work.
Jonathon Pont and Zack Moss are Junior Engineers at Anthesis. Anthesis are the largest team of dedicated sustainability experts globally, supporting cities, organisations, communities and citizens to make the right decisions that will make a difference. They develop financially driven sustainability strategies, underpinned by technical expertise and delivered by innovative collaborative teams across the world.