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UK meat consumption falls by nearly a fifth in the last decade, as scientists warn reduction must be faster to hit climate target

UK meat consumption falls by nearly a fifth in the last decade, as scientists warn reduction must be faster to hit climate target
The UK’s daily meat consumption has dropped by 17% over the last 10 years, an Oxford University study has found, as Britons seek to reduce the environmental impact of their diets to meet an ambitious 2030 climate target.

The University of Oxford analysis, published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal and using data from the UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey, found that daily meet consumption in the UK dropped from 103.7 grams in 2008 to 86.3 grams in 2019, marking a 17% drop over the last decade.

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While the scientists behind the study did not seek to provide a sole explanation for the decline in meat consumption, lead researcher Cristina Stewart suggested that it could be due to younger individuals who “consider the environment and climate change” when thinking about their diet.

The findings come as the UK government encourages Britons to reduce their meat consumption as part of a review into the nation’s food system, from farming to sustainability, seeking to both move people to healthier diets and reduce the environmental impact of their food.

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The National Food Strategy report, released earlier this year, called on UK citizens to cut meat consumption in a bid to slash methane emissions from farm animals and help the nation hit its climate targets.

However, despite the near one-fifth decline in meat consumption over the last decade, scientists warned that “more substantial” efforts are required to achieve the UK’s goal of a 30% reduction by 2030. To hit that target, Stewart highlighted how Britons “don’t have to be vegetarian” but could move to having “two meat-free days per week.”

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