Glasgow restaurants putting beans on the menu in support of the city’s ‘Full of Beans’ campaign and a global menu challenge

14 March 2024


Glasgow is going to be Full of Beans this year as the campaign to promote beans as a healthy and planet-friendly food choice is taking over the city. For the month of March, restaurants and other catering venues are encouraged to put beans on the menu, linking up with the #Beansonthemenu Challenge by the global Beans is How campaign by the Sustainable Development Goals 2 Advocacy Hub.

The campaign has already signed up a number of catering venues to take part in the challenge, including Sprigg who run two food outlets in the city. Lewis Bennett from Sprigg says: “The Full of Beans campaign offers us an exciting opportunity to demonstrate that beans can be fresh and vibrant as well as being a store cupboard staple, and that they can be eaten as part of a healthy lunch.”

Through the campaign, the city’s caterers also have a chance to take part in a bean-focused training course held at the Glasgow Kelvin College, which aims to inspire students and show those already working as chefs how versatile cooking with beans can be.

The campaign is jointly led by the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership (GFPP) and the Glasgow Community Food Network’s (GCFN) Food and Climate Action (FCA) team. Riikka Gonzalez from GFPP says: “We are excited to be partnering with a large number of local as well as some global partners, aiming for the campaign messages of health and sustainability to reach as many people as possible.”

Kristin Gutekunst from the Beans Is How campaign continues: “Beans is How is on a mission to double global bean consumption by 2028. To achieve this, we count on our Bean Coalition partners to get more #beansonthemenu in their local communities and networks. We are thrilled to be collaborating with the City of Glasgow’s Full of Beans Campaign and the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership as our first city-wide partnership adopting beans across sectors, linking the campaign to the aims of their local food strategy’.

This is of course not the first time Glasgow has encouraged the hospitality sector to get involved in campaigns that support sustainability. Rebecca Ricketts, Campaign and Project Lead at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, and lead of two campaigns designed to raise the issues of global food waste, Plate up for Glasgow and Grounds for Recycling says: “In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards more plant-based diets, with beans, peas, legumes, and pulses stepping up to the plate.  This move has been driven by a growing awareness of the environmental and health benefits of what we eat, as well as a desire to embrace more sustainable and ethical food choices into our daily diets. Full of Beans offers yet another innovative platform for businesses to continue their journey to net zero while attracting new diners and spend.”

The campaign team has also teamed up with Greencity Wholefoods, a wholesaler prioritising ethical and environmentally friendly food items. The Co-operative works with many of Glasgow’s hospitality venues and independent shops, and will offer a special promotion on beans and pulses for the months of March and April. Pippa Phillips, their Marketing Manager says: “At a time where many people are struggling with a choice between affordable food and healthy food, this campaign makes more sense than ever before. An initiative that not only demonstrates the health and ecofriendly benefits of beans, but also helps to communicate what a great lower cost and versatile option beans can be, should definitely be supported.”

In addition to smaller venues taking part in the campaign, Glasgow City Council School Catering is already working with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here team to develop new bean-filled menu items for school children. Gillian Pagani, Operations Support Manager from the council’s Catering and Facilities Management team and Sue McVey, Menu and Catering Skills Officer from Soil Association Scotland say: “Beans are tasty, nutritious and great fuel for school pupils’ education. That’s why Food for Life Scotland and Glasgow City Council are delighted to be partnering to get more beans into school meals. The FFL and GCC teams are planning a menu development day in April to create simple recipes that will feature on secondary menus launching in August 24 and primary menus in April 25. The introduction of the new dishes will be supported by bean education sessions in selected classrooms.”

In the coming months, the campaign team will also work with market gardeners along with community and school growing spaces to trial bean growing in the city. Jenny McGillivray from the FCA project, who has teamed up with The Glasgow Seed Library to co-ordinate the process, says: “We found that many people are unaware of the sheer diversity of beans, and that there is untapped potential in growing more of our own pulses. So our growing project will be distributing heritage bean seeds to anyone who wants to give growing them a try. There will also be workshops where you can learn about bean growing success, seed saving and how to dry and store beans.”  

There is still plenty of time for organisations and caterers to get on board with the campaign, click here for more information.