Brexit an opportunity to push plant-based consumption

Brexit provides a unique opportunity to shift diets towards more sustainable eating patterns, with less meat and more plant-based foods, according to a new report produced by a coalition of NGOs.

The campaign groups have published a list of 10 key recommendations to “reshape” the UK’s food and farming system. These include a new “integrated food and farming strategy” to replace the Common Agricultural Policy, which is “no longer fit for purpose”.

There would also need to be a review of dietary guidance to ensure that “sustainability is fully integrated and that it underpins all government and local authority procurement and healthy eating advice to the public”.

Indeed, the groups argue for a shift towards diets with “less and better meat”, and the introduction of additional taxes on certain livestock products to encourage people to eat more plants. This would help ensure greenhouse gas emission reduction targets are met and save the NHS millions of pounds.

“Food and farming policies fit for the future will require more than tinkering with subsidies or favourable trade deals,” said Sue Dibb, executive director at Eating Better, which led the research. “We need to step off the treadmill of industrially produced livestock that comes at such a cost to animal welfare, our health and the environment,” she added.

In June, the UK Committee on Climate Change warned the government that the agricultural sector is not on track to deliver agreed non-CO2 emissions reductions of at least three million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in England (4.5 MtCO2e in the UK) by 2022.

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