Monday 9 July 2018

Taylor Shaw & The Vanishing Vegan Options

When Ebony first started at school almost two years ago (how?!), it was really simple to organise vegan school dinners for her. It was so easy, in fact, that I wrote this smug little piece for the Metro so other vegan parents could replicate my success.

It was easy, I got in touch with the school’s catering company and explained that my daughter was vegan, and they said no problem and then filled the school’s freezer with vegan substitutes so my daughter could enjoy school dinners with her peers.

Then, a few weeks ago, this all stopped. The catering company, Taylor Shaw, who provide food for over 300 schools across the country, have decided to stop doing vegan options. They haven’t really explained why. At first, they blamed allergens, and then the School Food Standards (which don’t mention not providing vegan options so I got the impression they were just trying to sideline me with industry jargon by this point).

Taylor Shaw is one of many catering companies and, luckily, the others seem to be going above and beyond to ensure no pupils are left out at lunchtime. It’s a shame that, at a time when veganism is becoming more popular, a large catering company is taking such a big step backwards. And it’s frustrating when it would be so easy to veganise a number of the meals. The Taylor Shaw menus seem to rely heavily on Quorn for their vegan options so it would be easy peasy to switch the vegetarian Quorn for the vegan version and create a dish more children could enjoy.

I realise vegans are in the minority, but our numbers are growing year after year. Vegan children should have access to free school dinners just like the rest of the children. My daughter might be the only vegan at her primary school, but the primary school just up the road has four vegan pupils. If Taylor Shaw caters for 300 schools, there must be other vegan children who are affected by this move.

I have sent a complaint to the catering company detailing why I feel this policy change is a step backwards, though I have not yet heard back. I would urge the parents of other children affected by the move to complain as well. The company may not even realise how many vegan children they should be catering for unless we make ourselves heard. Please do email Taylor Shaw’s head office to complain. You can contact them on

Also, email me on because there is strength in numbers and I think it’s important we work together to encourage the company to provide inclusive lunch options for all.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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