Ordering a cappuccino or a latte will be served with oat milk instead of cow milk unless you specify which milk variation you prefer. “What we can do is change the standard a bit so that its more towards the goal of plant-based, yet we don’t want to say, ‘from now on no more cow milk’”, says the general manager of Vitam at Erasmus University Michel Flaton.

Test the water

“At this moment, if you want a cappuccino, the standard you will get is cow milk, and if you want plant-based you must specify”, talks Flaton, about the current situation on campus.  This initiative crafted by catering company Vitam is meant to test the waters of what will happen when there is a shift in the standard of a typical coffee order. When speaking about the changes, Sonya, an employee from the coffee stands on campus, says: “Maybe in the first week we will tell people that they will get oat milk, or they have to specify.”

Not only the milk will change, but the price will also.  “If you order a cappuccino now, you get an extra charge for plant-based (65 cents) but now we are going to make the prices even. The cow milk cappuccino will go up a little bit in price and the plant-based will go down, so both will be 2.42 euros”, says Flaton.

Taking the coffee route to sustainability

With the ‘OATstanding coffee project’ Vitam is helping EUR towards their goals of being fully plant-based on campus by 2030. Flaton explains that to reach the timeline set by EUR, Vitam decided to use their ‘number one seller’ – coffee – in order to generate ‘the biggest impact’. “Maybe it is not a popular decision but with the goals of the university to be plant-based by 2030 I think it will be a huge step”, explains Flaton.

When it comes to the OATstanding coffee project Flaton says: “Our mission is not to make everybody vegan but just to create options – we cannot change their mind people have to change their own mind if they want to.”

“The university board decided that everything has to be vegan in a few years. To be honest I am not happy to be putting people on the spot and not have the options and people do not want to be pressured into having plant-based options only”, says Sonya from the coffee corner.

When it comes to sustainability on campus Aytan, an international history student, mentions: “Sustainability should come voluntarily but now it doesn’t feel like its voluntarily – you can have options, but it doesn’t mean that you should actually make people drink it (oat milk).”

Behind the counter

When it comes to making the coffee order Sonya comments: “I don’t mind but it is always difficult to help everybody because some people want cow milk, and some people want vegan milk. We have two machines, but it is not possible to do one with cow milk one with oat milk because when it’s busy there will be a queue for either for the cow milk or the oat milk.” Starting from Monday every machine in the coffee corner will be filled will oat milk and the rest of the milk variations will be on the side.

The response of students confronted with the oat milk reality is diverse. Nicholas a student getting his morning coffee from the Manderville coffee corner approaches this subject in a very casual and open-minded manner theorizing that students ‘don’t really care that much’. He adds: “You still have a choice, if you can only get oat milk now then I would get a bit annoyed.”

Lactose intolerant

“If it was the same taste or texture nobody would mind but there is a difference in the texture if you drink milk for a long time, you could feel it”, comments Aytan on the issue. Still, she understands that ‘for people that have health issues and are lactose intolerant they might like it’ as she is lactose intolerant and uses milk alternatives herself.

Illustratie_Koffie_coffee_prijzen_vergelijken_test_Josine Henneken

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