Grand Café de Iris
Grand Café de Iris

Research on Vegetarian Default Options in Grand Café de Iris

In her master's thesis, Tamar Ardesch researched the concept of vegetarian default food options in Grand Café de Iris and the possible resistance that consumers may experience to this. The results showed no resistance to a vegetarian default option within the Faculty of Social Sciences. More sustainable food is sold, and sales figures do not go down.

The study focused on introducing a 'vegetarian default', meaning that all visible items in the canteen are vegetarian or vegan by default, with meat and fish products only available through the menu. 

Survey and Results

In the pre-measurement, sales figures of all meat, fish and vegetarian products in Grand Café de Iris were analysed, and consumers' resistance to the food options was measured. After the introduction of the default, this measurement was repeated twice.

The results show a significant increase in vegetarian and vegan sales, while sales of meat and fish products decreased. Consumer resistance remained the same, suggesting that the introduction of a vegetarian default not only boosts sales of sustainable options but also does not negatively affect the consumer experience.

Tabel met metingen van verkoopcijfers in Grand Cafe de Iris

Better for the environment and health

The introduction of a vegetarian default stems from both environmental and health-related considerations, as well as a desire to reduce animal suffering. Consumers regularly mentioned that eating vegetarian is good for reducing our impact on climate change, but the consideration from the health aspect appeared to be less well known. 

Although meat consumption is declining, there are still people who do eat meat. Arguments from these consumers, according to Tamar, often have to do with habit, taste or ignorance about the negative impact of meat production: ''For example, people don't know what to buy and prepare; they are used to always having meat or fish in their dishes, or they don't know the taste (of vegetarian alternatives) and have preconceptions that as a vegetarian you only eat lettuce and it's a more expensive diet.''

Vegetarian and vegan future on campus

According to Tamar, making the catering offer as much plant-based as possible is something the university can implement quite easily. ''Radboud University aims to improve sustainability and, among other things, wants at least 80% of its catering offerings to be vegetarian or vegan by 2025. This fits in very well with a sustainable future.''

In an ideal world, Tamar would ideally see all catering outlets on campus being fully plant-based. As a first step towards that, she hopes the other catering establishments will follow Grand Café de Iris' example and also switch to a vegetarian default, or even better, to fully vegan. Grand Café de Iris is taking a great example in this and will have a full vegetarian or vegan offer from 4 March!

Contact information

Organizational unit
Faculty of Social Sciences