Within this remit, the ACSS have formed a Working Group on Climate Change and Consumer Behaviours (CCBC) to deepen the FSAs understanding of how consumer trends related to climate change may impact its work.
Four behaviour trends of key interest for the FSA were identified through the CCBC: avoiding food waste, increased preference for alternative packaging, increased use of reusable containers to purchase food or drink in and increase in consumption of novel proteins.
The category of novel proteins contains a mix of food products such as vegan meat alternatives, cultured meat, farmed insects, and plant proteins that are newer to the food industry.
A high level of media interest has focussed on farmed insects and cultured meat, though consumer interest and levels of acceptance are lagging.
For example, in research from 2021, 60 percent of adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland said they were willing to try plant-based proteins such as soy, compared to just 34 percent saying they were willing to try cultured meat and 26 percent willing to try “edible insects”.
It is time to harness this strong consumer interest and focus on protein solutions that are available right now, not in the future.
Increasing the amount of plant-proteins the UK eats and grows represents a plethora of opportunities for our and the planet’s health.
The UK returned land used for animal farming back to forest, and grew health-promoting crops for human consumption – we would be able to sustain human calorie and protein needs in place of feed currently grown for animals, a 2019 Harvard University report has shown that if
The FSA highlights potential implications for novel protein increase, including concerns about food processing and lack of consumer knowledge.
We know these concerns can be mitigated through the combined expertise of NGOs, industry, academics, health professionals, other governmental departments, and more.
We must not let the experience of these heat waves fade to memory. There are many parts of the world that have been impacted far more than the UK by human-caused-climate change. It is time to take action.
Louisianna Waring is the senior insight and policy officer at The Vegan Society. She has a background in both food policy and animal science. To learn more about The Vegan Society’s vision for a fairer food system transformation, visit Planting Value in the Food System.