Procurement criteria for catering plant-based food

In a nutshell

This tool guides procurers in integrating plant-based options into the public procurement of catering services, based on the EU’s Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria. Increasing plant-based consumption and reducing meat and dairy consumption can have a positive impact on health, biodiversity, and the climate.

Necessary Steps

There are two criteria models to choose between, which can also be used in combination:

Technical specification (minimum criteria):

  • Menus offered must include options which increase the consumption of pulses, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts while having at least the same recommended nutrient intake for the clients, including [to be selected by the procurer]:
    • X% of vegetarian food (vegetables, beans, grains) must be part of everyday lunch dishes with meat and fish.
    • X number of vegetarian or plant-based dishes (which includes eggs and dairy products but eliminates meat and fish) per day(s)/per week.
    • X number of vegetarian or plant-based dishes to be offered daily or Z days per week.
    • Vegetarian or plant-based dishes to be offered X number of days per week.
    • ‘Dish of the day’ to be a vegetarian or plant-based dish.
    • X grams of plant-based sourced proteins or pulses per day/week week.
  • Verification: The tenderer must provide the menu planning with the alternatives that promote the consumption of pulses, vegetables and fruits. This must be in accordance with the established nutritional requirements.

Award criteria (for giving proportionally additional scores):

  • This can be applied to tenders in which the tenderer organises, together with the school, awareness-raising activities for pupils on the importance of vegetarian food for a balanced diet.
  • Verification: The tender must provide a description of the proposed awareness-raising activities.

More Issues To Consider

  • Adding more vegetables to familiar lunch dishes (e.g. creating minced meat and vegetable balls, or chicken and vegetable sauce) makes children more likely to be receptive to these healthier options.
  • Some of the challenges of this option are measurability (whether and how much cooks increase the proportion of vegetables in the food) and novelty (since new recipes need to be developed).
  • Serving school lunches which contain more vegetables for all pupils once a week is logistically less complicated and less expensive than offering an alternative vegetarian option every day. Moreover, in the latter case, vegetable-rich school lunches may not reach those who need them most (i.e. over-consumers of meat).
  • The menu planners and cooks may require extra training to deliver this newer, healthier menu.
  • Cooperation with nutritionists helps raise awareness on the health benefits of a balanced diet among schoolchildren, their parents, and teachers.

Further Information


The information on this page about the use of the tool “Procurement criteria for catering plant-based food” is only provided as a general guide and is not intended as a substitute for the user to check the respective public procurement regulations. We compiled the content to the best of our knowledge, but do not assume any liability for completeness and correctness. We do not assume any liability for the user to verify the applicable procurement law provisions in the respective national state.

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