Britons cut meat-eating by 17%, but must double that to hit target

People have been advised to reduce consumption by 30% for health and environmental reasons


Linda Geddes, The Guardian

8 Oct 2021


Britons have cut their meat consumption by 17% over the past decade but will need to double these efforts if they are to meet targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production set out in the national food strategy earlier this year.


Meat production is a major contributor to global heating and land degradation, while eating lots of red and processed meat has been linked to a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.


For these reasons, the government-commissioned national food strategy for England recently recommended that people try to cut their meat consumption by about 30% within the next decade.


To understand how much meat people in the UK are currently eating, Cristina Stewart, a health behaviours researcher at the University of Oxford, and colleagues turned to dietary data recorded in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. This annual exercise involves asking a nationally representative sample of the population to keep a food diary for four consecutive days.


The analysis, published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, found...