The UK-based Eating Better alliance has published the findings of a survey which finds that :
• 25% of the British public say they are eating less meat than a year ago
• 34% are willing to consider eating less meat
• One in six (17%) young people say they don’t eat any meat
The YouGov survey of the British public commissioned by the Eating Better alliance found that around one in three (34%) say they are willing to consider eating less meat, with a quarter (25%) saying they have already cut back on the amount of meat they eat over the last year. The reasons people state for the change in meat consumption is foremost concern for animal welfare, ahead of motives to save money, reduced food quality/safety or health reasons.
According to the survey there has been a large increase in awareness of the significant environmental impacts of producing and eating meat from just one in seven people (14%) in a YouGov survey for Friends of the Earth in 2007 (3) to nearly one in three (31%) in 2013. The greatest change is seen in the group of young people aged 18-24 who are now three times more likely to answer that they never eat meat.
Another interesting finding in the survey was that around half those surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for ‘better’ meat if it tastes better, is healthier, produced to higher animal welfare standards or provides better financial returns to farmers. This attitude was not found only in higher social grade groups.
The people surveyed also supported more information and better labelling including country of origin and how animals are reared. As of now, 67% agreed it is hard to tell which meat is more environmentally friendly.
On the basis of the survey findings, Eating Better concludes that there is:
- Growing public awareness & support for Eating Better’s messages of ‘less and better’ meat eating
- A growing market opportunity for food businesses to respond to the public’s interest in reduced meat/meat free eating and ‘better’ meat produced to higher animal welfare, health and environmental standards.
- A need for policy makers, food companies and health professionals to help people adopt healthy, sustainable diets.
- A need for policy makers, retailers and the food service sector to encourage and support farming that produces meat in ways that benefit the environment, health and animal welfare.
A summary of the research findings can be downloaded here. For more about the Eating Better Alliance see here - http://www.eating-better.org/ , or read our Interview with Sue Dibb, coordinator of the Alliance here here.