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Are KU students willing to have a meat-free Christmas?

By Jamelia S Brown Dec 4, 2021
Christmas dinner turkeyWould you swap a turkey for a plant based alternative? Credits: Becky Fantham Unsplash

With Christmas only a few weekends away, many have already started
preparing for the festive season.  

High on the priority list is planning and preparing the long-awaited Christmas meal with all the trimmings: potatoes, pigs in blankets and Brussels sprouts – for those that enjoy them.  

However, could you imagine a Christmas dinner without the main feature, a turkey?

Last month British farmers warned of a turkey shortage due to a lack of
staff available to meet the astronomical December demand. Workers in the poultry industry estimated that this has left them raising one million fewer birds than needed.

KU dance student Emily Jacob can’t imagine having a Christmas without
turkey: “I’ve always been a meat lover since I was younger and it’s a
tradition to have it on Christmas Day. I couldn’t imagine sitting down
without it, a turkey’s my favourite part of the meal,” she said.

turkeys in a field
Turkey farms are experiencing a lack of staff. Credit: Mikkel Bergmann Unsplash

The government has announced that they will allow poultry workers from the European Union into the country on a temporary basis in a bid to help curb the shortage and ensure that supermarket shelves stay stocked for the festive period.

However, it has recently been revealed by the British Poultry Council (BPC) that only around half of the target recruitment of 5,500 has been reached.

Although the BPC has recently promised that there will be enough
turkeys to go around this Christmas and they have enough workers to
get them over the demand, they have acknowledged that there will be
less variety and choice this year.

Rebeca Hewitt, a third-year dance student is relieved by the confirmation
by the BPC: “Turkey is my favourite part of a Christmas dinner, I could
never give it a miss.”

Even though Christmas spreads will most likely not be missing the Sarah Eames, a third-year studying dance said: “It’s hard because I love
meat but I have it all the time. One part I wouldn’t give up are the roast
potatoes and Yorkshire puddings so if I had those then I could happily go
without a turkey, it wouldn’t be missed as much.”

When asked if she would swap turkey for a vegan or vegetarian
alternative Eames said: “I’ve tried vegan chicken and it was quite nice so
I wouldn’t mind. If there was a meat-free alternative I’d definitely give it a
go instead of having turkey.”

Whilst supermarket shelves should be stocked with your seasonal
favourites, here are some tried and tested meatless Christmas dinner
ideas for those looking to cut down on their meat consumption, cook for
a plant-based family member or just want to try something new.

meatless christmas dinner

Quorn vegetarian roast

Made of mycoprotein, you put this roast into the oven for an hour, slice and serve. It has a very realistic chicken-like texture and is perfect for those wanting to give up meat but not the taste. This product is also gluten-free.

Photo credit: Jamelia Brown

beef wellington

Marks and Spencer Plant Kitchen vegan beef wellington

If you are looking for something different to traditional turkey
flavours this could be you. This dish pea protein ‘beef’ covered
in mushroom and pastry which is heavy and rich in flavour. This is  also quick and easy to cook, with an hour’s oven time.

Photo credit: Food And Drink/Shutterstock

nut roast

Nut roast

Made of nuts, pulses and vegetables this alternative is perfect for those looking to try a plant-based main without mock meats. Meals taste best whenthey are homemade so it’s worth going the extra mile. If you are looking for a quicker cook time, Waitrose four-nut roast bake is a perfect option.

Photo credit: Food And Drink/Shutterstock


By Jamelia S Brown

She/Her Third-year journalism student at Kingston University I like to write about sustainability, social issues, feminism and pop culture.

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