One in five Brits ‘eating less meat’

A fifth of Brits have been eating a smaller amount meat during the past twelve months, compared to just five per cent who've started eating more, a new survey shows.

The Eating Better alliance research, carried out by YouGov and paid for by Friends of the Earth, also shows that a third of Brits are willing to think about cutting back on meat consumption.

The data appears in 'Let's talk about meat: changing dietary behaviour for the 21st century', a new Eating Better report.

The publication argues that there's good evidence of eating less meat having benefits when it comes to climate change and people's health, but that companies and governments aren't supporting people to cut back.

It notes that consuming a lot of meat, in particular processed and red meat, has been associated with heart disease and cancer.

"Eating less meat is a simple way for people to benefit their health and the health of the planet. Significant numbers of people are waking up to the message of flexitarian eating by having meat-free days and enjoying better quality meat in smaller portions," commented Sue Dibbs, who co-wrote the report.

"There are also opportunities for businesses: eating less and better meat is becoming trendy thanks to top chefs putting vegetables centre-plate. But much more is needed to take this mainstream: that’s why, as our report says, we need to talk about meat."

The new publication discusses several things that could encourage people eat less meat but 'better' meat, such as the fact that not eating meat so much could save them money.

In the YouGov research, only 28 per cent of people agreed with the idea that the production of livestock significantly impacts our environment. But Eating Better cites a UNFAO statistic showing that livestock represent 14.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Eating Better have provided recommendations for organisations such as governments and businesses – for example it wants businesses to increase the availability, attractiveness and affordability of vegetarian or low-meat options. 

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.