It may be a chicken mecca but for those of us who prefer our meals cruelty-free, Nando’s might not be out top choice.

But that may be about to change, because the South African chain says that it’s making its expansion of plant-based offerings a priority.

Earlier this year, it launched a plant-based chicken burger in Australia in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint and now, the Nando’s food team claim to be working on a bigger range of low-carbon offerings over here.

‘Building on a 40% reduction in its carbon footprint since 2015, Nando’s commits to achieving absolute zero direct emissions and reducing the carbon footprint of a Nando’s meal by a further 50 percent by 2030,’ the company told Plant Based News.

‘Nando’s Food Team, which tests and develops the menu offering, is committed to and actively working on increasing the group’s plant-based menu offering.’

What plant-based items are currently available?

There are quite a few veggie and vegan-friendly bits on the Nando’s menu already. V = vegetarian, VE = vegan.

Starters

Spicy mixed olives (ve)

Peri-peri nuts (ve)

Halloumi sticks & dip (v)

Mains

Beanie burger, pitta or wrap (ve/v – ask to make vegan without the cheese and mayo)

Other veggie mains include the Sweet Potato & Butternut burger, pitta, or wrap and the Supergreen Burger, pitta, or wrap, (both of which can be vegan if you ask for without cheese and mayo), and the Mushroom and Halloumi burger, pitta, or wrap – but these are not currently available due to a limited menu in lockdown.

Sides

Spicy rice (ve)

Coleslaw (v)

Garlic bread (v)

Corn on the cob (v)

Creamy mash (v)

Chips (ve)

Peri-salted chips (ve)

Macho peas (v)

Long stem broccoli (ve)

Desserts

Gooey caramel cheesecake (v)

Choc-a-lot cake (v)

White choc & raspberry cheesecake (v)

Carrot cake (v)

Salted caramel brownie (v)

Naughty natas (v)

If Nando’s does manage to expand its range of animal-free meals, that’ll be massive. While the food chain no longer uses battery chickens (it claims that all of their animals are barn-raised to Red Tractor standard), chicken consumption still massively contributes to climate change. According to Greenpeace, ‘chicken can wreak havoc on the climate’ due to the fact that they’re raised on soya – something farmers are clearing forests to plant on an epic scale.

There are now 30 chickens to every 10 people on the planet, with farmed chickens and other poultry making up 70% of all birds on Earth. The UK alone imports over 3 million tonnes of soya per year to feed chickens and most of it comes from South America where forests are being destroyed to keep up with demand. This soya is not being made into soy milk or tofu but is almost entirely being cultivated to feed animals which we then go on to eat.

If we’re serious about tackling climate change, we need to cut down on the amount of dairy, chicken and other animals that we eat. Cutting back means fewer cows, pigs and chicken – which will mean less land needed for grazing and growing soya and more space for forests and wildlife.

We need to cut our consumption by 50% by 2030. That’s really not that long when you think about it.

It may just be commercially expedient for chains like Nando’s to tap into the green pound but by committing to reducing its carbon footprint and expanding the options available to everyone, these businesses are playing a vital role in halting the damage.

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