UK: Report suggests shift to plant protein is needed as food system is “fundamentally broken”

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04 Oct 2017 --- A new report launched in the UK warns that a shift to plant protein as a substitute for animal protein is “desperately needed” as the UK’s food system is “fundamentally broken.” The Grow Green II report, written by the New Economics Foundation and commissioned by The Vegan Society, declares that the UK’s food system is fundamentally broken, environmentally unsustainable and unhealthy.

It calls on the UK government to radically rethink the food the UK eats and crops it grows and advises a shake-up in the UK agricultural system, as it prepares to leave the European Union.

Key recommendations include implementation of a farmed animal tax and a Protein Aid Scheme for those who grow plant protein crops such as peas, beans and lentils.

Griffin Carpenter, Senior Researcher at the New Economics Foundation, says: “Our research shows that to supply British diets with food that is sustainable, healthy, affordable, and ethical, protein crops represent a win-win-win-win across all four dimensions.” 

“With a major shakeup to farming policy on the horizon, now is the time to create new programs and incentives for the development of protein crops.”

But the report argues there is a general lack of knowledge from both producers and consumers about plant protein’s contribution to public health and their low environmental impact.

Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns and Policy at The Vegan Society, says: “We are working in various ways to bring about vegan-friendly policymaking.” 

“Those who farm animals are victims of the system and many want a way out of the industry. The solutions that New Economics Foundation present could help farmers to transition to more compassionate and environmentally friendly farming methods.” 

“Encouraging more plant protein agriculture, and a move away from animal agriculture would be a step towards the vegan future that the animals and our planet so desperately need.”

The report adds that a shake-up would give the UK Government a chance to act as a role model in plant protein agriculture for other countries to follow.

It also warns that delivering a large amount of food to consumers at low prices comes at the expense of almost every other objective that we might reasonably expect from a food system.

The full Grow Green II report can be downloaded here.

Consumers are increasingly adopting vegan diets, not only for animal welfare issues but also for health or environmental reasons. Ingredient suppliers are continuously developing a wide range of vegan products to help food manufacturers launch high-quality products for the growing vegan trend. 

The growing popularity of new product development on a vegan platform is substantiated by new product launch data from Innova Market Insights, with a +58 percent increase reported in product launches with a vegan claim in 2015 from 2014, with a further +35 percent increase in 2016 from 2015. Earlier this week, FoodIngredientsFirst featured a report on mayonnaise in the vegan space as vegan NPD accelerates further. You can read the full report here

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