‘Better by half: A roadmap to less and better meat and dairy’ sets out steps to accelerate a 50% reduction in meat and dairy consumption in the UK by 2030, and for a transition to ‘better’ meat and dairy as standard.
It provides actions to help create the right environment for people to eat better for themselves and the planet. It is not a case of telling people what they can and cannot eat, but to support them in making positive choices.
The case for action for less and better meat and dairy is well evidenced
We are calling for a 50% reduction in meat and dairy consumption by 2030.
A transition to less and better meat and dairy will bring a host of benefits from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, freeing up land to support biodiversity and carbon sequestration, improve animal welfare and reduce antibiotic use, as well as improving our health
The importance of healthy and sustainable eating patterns, with only moderate amounts of meat and dairy, is increasingly being recognised in national dietary guidelines, including the UK’s Eatwell Guide. In the UK we consume over twice the global average, and not enough plant foods for good health.
A transition to a more sustainable food system that helps avert dangerous climate change and restore nature requires a commitment from all actors who shape the food environment. This is a complex challenge which no one can achieve on their own.
Change is happening, but not fast enough
Public awareness of livestock’s environmental impact is growing. A 2019 YouGov Survey commissioned by Eating Better showed that understanding had grown by 23% since 2017. The 2019 survey also found that 48% of people in the UK are willing or already committed to cutting down or cutting out meat.
Better balanced diets include more vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and pulses. But it is not always easy for people to make good food choices.
There are encouraging signs on the high street. Retailers such as M&S, Tesco and Pret a Manger are responding to consumer demand for more plant-based options. Mintel research in 2019 has shown that plant-based launches soared to one fifth of all retail food new product development in the last year.
Farmers and growers increasingly support calls for less and better, and are ready to make the transition with the right incentives. Farming groups are now part of the Eating Better alliance.
The roadmap provides a resource for government
The roadmap demonstrates the critical importance of action by government. One of the actions set out in the roadmap is the need for the UK Government to deliver a cross-departmental food strategy.
The roadmap offers support to the UK Government who has recently laid out legislation setting out that the UK will contribute ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and announced a review to inform a National Food Strategy. To make this a reality, what we eat has to be part of the solution. These commitments need to move to effective delivery, and quickly.
24 workable actions to accelerate change
Eating Better has identified 24 levers for government, food service, retailers, food producers and investors, that need to be pulled to get us moving in the right direction at pace. Our focus is on sectors that are the most influential in changing the environment where food decisions take place.
The roadmap sets concrete actions to shape the food environment for a better food future. We identify where change needs to happen and by who, and show some of the interventions required. Where possible, we showcase examples from businesses and organisations that are leading the way.
The roadmap is not meant to provide all of the answers, or dwell extensively on the problems to address. The roadmap has been developed in consultation with organisations in the Eating Better alliance, and maps a way forward that has broad support.