During a presentation at a red meat sector conference in Christchurch, New Zealand red meat sector representative Jeff Grant named changing attitudes surrounding meat as “the biggest issue in front of us.”
It has long been discussed how one of the biggest environmental concerns is the effect that a meat-heavy diet has on both our health and our ecosystem, with the methane produced by animals living in factory farms being one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
The result? According to Grant, European nations have dropped meat consumption by 20% over the last three months. He cited a recent Oxford food production analysis — led by Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore — published last year. Poore said at the time, “a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use.”
He continued, “it is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car. Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems. Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this.”
Because of facts like these, many Europeans are now identifying as "flexitarian" and severely reducing their meat consumption. Supermarket chains are now responding to the customer demand for healthy and environmentally friendly alternatives to meat. Rosie Bambaji — a plant-based buyer for the Sainsbury’s grocery chain — said in a statement, “we’re seeing increasing demand for plant-based products, and with the unstoppable rise of ‘flexitarianism’ in the UK, we are exploring further ways to make popular meat-free options more accessible.”