According to research, daily meat intake in the United Kingdom has decreased by 17% in the previous decade. However, this decline is not occurring rapidly enough to achieve a crucial national goal. The goal is to decrease our diets’ environmental effects.
The National Food Strategy has established this objective based on an assessment of the whole UK food system, from farming to production to hunger and sustainability.
Reduced Meat Consumption
(Photo : Photo by Natalie Ng of Unsplash )
It proposes a 30 percent reduction in meat consumption in the UK over the following ten years. “We now know we need a more dramatic reduction,” stated Cristina Stewart, University of Oxford lead researcher.
According to a recent study published in The Lancet Planetary Health, while most people are eating less red and processed meat than a decade ago, they consume white meat.
Consumption of red and processed meat is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some malignancies.
Meat production also has a greater environmental effect than other agricultural and food production forms, resulting in more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
The National Diet and Nutrition Study, a thorough survey of the eating habits of more than 15,000 people across the country, was used by this Oxford-based research team.
This indicated that daily meat intake has decreased by around 17 grams per person per day.
What it didn’t say was why people were changing their eating habits. However, according to market research conducted in 2019, almost 40% of meat consumers were actively attempting to limit their intake, with many claiming health or environmental concerns.
“Any reduction in meat will have an impact,” says Dr. Stewart, who wants to lessen the environmental impact of what he eats.
No Need to Go Vegan
(Photo : Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
She stated, “You don’t have to be a vegetarian. However, meat-free recipes will have a lesser impact in general. However, if you eat meat every day, cutting your meat consumption by 30% is equivalent to having two meat-free days each week.”
The environmental effect of meat varies greatly depending on how animals are fed and where and how the meat is produced.
“Locally produced meat has a considerably smaller impact than imported meat,” Dr. Stewart explained.
She and her colleagues have also looked at the effects of “environmental impact labeling” on customer decision-making. They’ve created experimental labels that give a product a score based on greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, water usage, and pollution.
“It’s tough to purchase with that in mind when you don’t know food’s environmental impact,” she said.
The Oxford researchers claim that having the support of individuals with whom we have meals makes it simpler to modify our diets. People’s eating choices are also influenced by the availability and visibility of meat-free meal options.
“If you go to a restaurant, for example, you’ll frequently find a vegetarian choices ‘box of shame’ towards the bottom of the menu rather than at the front with chef’s specials,” Dr. Stewart added.
The team’s ongoing research into what motivates individuals to consume less meat has yielded several basic techniques that participants have found helpful.
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