Vegan items are chosen by only about 10 percent of students at Broward (FL) County Schools lunchrooms on a typical day, despite earlier studies that had indicated broader appeal, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Only about 16,000 of the 160,000 student buying a school lunch will choose the meat- and dairy-free options like Gardenburgers, black beans and rice and vegan salads, with most opting for more traditional fare like pizza, sloppy joes and chicken nuggets, despite no difference in prices.
A study of student lunch preferences conducted two years ago in Broward elementary and middle schools by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) had found that more than half of the students would choose vegan options if offered. The study had prompted Broward to make vegan choices available daily rather than once a week, as had been the case when the PMRC study was conducted.
School officials interviewed by the Sun-Sentinel theorize that the study’s optimistic assessment of the popularity of vegan choices might have been colored by the novelty of the items at the time, which has since worn off. PMRC is a national group that openly espouses the benefits of a vegan diet.