Meat can't compete

| 8th October 2021 |
Vegan artwork
Unity Diner, Hoxton - London
Average daily meat consumption per capita in the UK dropped from 103.7g to 86.3g – a decrease of about 17 percent.

We now know we need a more substantial reduction...Meat-free dishes will have a lower impact.

Daily meat consumption in the UK has fallen by almost a fifth over the last decade, a new study has found.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health, used data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey to assess changes in the consumption of red, white, and processed meat within the UK from 2008–09 to 2018–19.

Researchers found average daily meat consumption per capita dropped from 103.7g to 86.3g – a decrease of about 17 percent. Red meat consumption fell by 13.7g, while processed meat consumption dropped by 7g.

Emissions

The study also revealed Britons were eating 3.2g more white meat per day than a decade ago.

Despite the decrease, the authors of the study warned it was far from enough to reach the meat consumption targets outlined in Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy report.

The report warns meat consumption needs to be cut by 30 percent by 2030 to reduce methane emissions from cattle and sheep that help drive global warming, and to free up land for absorbing carbon and boosting nature.

Oxford University’s Cristina Stewart, the lead researcher behind the study, told the BBC: “We now know we need a more substantial reduction.

Cancer

“You don’t have to be vegetarian. Although, in general, meat-free dishes will have a lower impact.

“But if you’re someone that eats meat every day, reducing your meat consumption by 30 percent just looks like having two meat-free days per week.”

Along with the environmental impact, there could also be myriad health benefits in reduced meat consumption.

While a meat-heavy diet has already been linked with bowel cancer, a review released last month determined eating too much red and processed meat also increases the risk of heart disease.

This Author

John Besley is a reporter with PA.

Donate

The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here