UK Supermarkets Are Shaking Up The Aisles to Encourage More Veggie Consumption

Eating more veggies and fruit and less red meat has been shown repeatedly to benefit both people’s health and the environment. To encourage consumers to heed this advice, researchers and supermarket executives in the U.K. are launching a new $6.2 million grocery store makeover called “Our Planet, Our Health.

Scientists from Oxford University are working with executives from Sainsbury’s, one of the U.K.’s most popular supermarkets, on the plan. Their proposals to entice customers to eat more fresh produce include making the veggie and fruit displays more attractive; putting vegetarian alternatives on the same shelves as meat products; and giving vouchers to shoppers who buy veggie options. There will also be brochures with meat-free recipes.

“Nutritionists, political economists and epidemiologists at Oxford will study how animal foods affect health and the environment and they will then work with Sainsbury’s to present those findings in ways people can understand,” explained Sarah Molton, head of Our Planet, Our Health.

Dr. Marco Springmann, the chief Oxford scientist working with Sainsbury’s, said “Imbalanced diets, such as diets low in fruits and vegetables, and high in red and processed meat, are responsible for the greatest health burden globally and in most regions.

“At the same time the food system is also responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore a major driver of climate change.”

Numerous studies have established that the consumption of red meat is both bad for the environment and for people’s health. One of the most influential was a 2016 study by the National Academy of Sciences; Springmann was also the lead author of this report.

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Eat Less Meat To Reduce Deaths By 6 to 10 Percent

The study found that eating less meat could reduce global mortality by 6 to 10 percent. The links between eating meat, which is high in saturated fats, and various diseases, have been well documented. In particular, the consumption of meat has been linked to cancer and to cardiovascular disease. As Care2′s Piper Hoffman wrote here, a Harvard study concluded that just one serving of red meat a day increases the risk of early death by 13 percent.

 Eat Less Meat To Cut Greenhouse Gases By 30 to 70 Percent

The study also found that eating less red meat could cut greenhouse emissions by 30 to 70 percent. That’s because intensive livestock-rearing is a major cause of greenhouse gases, both on account of the methane produced by the animals and the massive slurry pits that accompany these enormous farms.

It also diverts water and grains to animal-rearing, which is less efficient than producing the grains for human consumption. According to a 2013 studyan additional 4 billion people across the globe could be fed if land currently used to grow crops for livestock was instead given over to crops for humans to consume directly.

But the revelations of why eating meat is bad for you and the planet have made only a small dent in consumer trends, which is why the “Our Planet, Our Health” project is trying a different approach.

“Linking health and climate change in challenging our eating habits could have more effect than focusing on each of these issues alone,” said Springmann. “By combining the two benefits, you have a more powerful impact. I think this will make more of an impression.”

He added that the team was not expecting, or wanting, everyone to go vegan. “But the climate change impacts of the food system will require more than just technological changes. Adopting healthier and more environmentally sustainable diets can be a large stop in the right direction.”

What do you think? Could this project be an effective way to educate consumers and encourage them to think more about what they are eating? Will this major shake-up in the supermarket aisles persuade customers to go for the fresh fruits and veggies?

 

Photo Credit: thinkstock

174 comments

KimJ M
KimJ M9 months ago

Keep animals off your plates!

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KimJ M
KimJ M9 months ago

Keep animals off your plates!

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M9 months ago

Keep animals off your plates!

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M9 months ago

Keep animals off your plates!

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M9 months ago

Keep animals off your plates!

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M9 months ago

Keep animals off your plates!

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ M9 months ago

Keep animals off your plates!

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Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Siyus C
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

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