Britons eat 20% less meat than a decade ago
Andrew Crook - NFFF President
October 8, 2021

Daily meat consumption has fallen by almost a fifth on average per person in the UK in the past decade, research has found.

The Times reports that, according to a study by the University of Oxford people have reduced the amount of red and processed meat they eat while slightly increasing their consumption of chicken.

The findings suggest consumers are already beginning to change their eating habits in line with recommendations about reducing the carbon footprint of their diets and cutting consumption of unhealthy food.

The Oxford team analysed data from the government-funded National Diet and Nutrition Survey, a long-running project that involves 1,000 people keeping diaries of what they eat.

They found average daily meat consumption in the UK decreased between 2008-09 and 2018-19 by 17% or 17.4g per person, down from 103.7g to 86.3g.

This included a reduction of 13.7g of red meat from 37.4g to 23.7g and 7g of processed meat from 33.8g to 26.8g.

Consumption of white meat over the period increased by 3.2g, from 32.5g to 35.7g. The proportion of individuals who identified as vegetarian or vegan rose from 2% to 5% over the same period.

People born after 1999 were the only age bracket to increase their consumption of meat over the period despite being the lowest consumers in the first seven survey years.

Cristina Stewart, who led the study published in The Lancet Planetary Health, said meat consumption was also decreasing in many other high-income countries but average global per capita consumption was increasing. She said the average person in the UK remained “a long way from consuming a healthy sustainable diet”.

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