Like it or not, our diets have to change. According to scientists, we’re on track to destroy the environment. Failure to rein in our consumption habits will eventually lead to catastrophic climate change.
But the problems could come sooner than we think – by 2050 (just 30 years from now) there is estimated to be 10 billion people in the world. If those of us in developed countries don’t change the way we eat, growing populations elsewhere will starve.
That’s not to mention the problem of our ever expanding waistlines. In the UK, 29% of adults are now classified as obese and in the US the statistics are even worse – 40% of adults are obese. The rates of obesity in western countries are rising at alarming levels, putting a huge strain on health systems.
It’s a perfect storm and the food industry is being called on to help divert it. A study conducted by the EAT-Lancet Commission (an international commission of 37 scientists) states that we should drastically cut our consumption of red meat, white meat, and fish, eating no more than one or two servings of each per week. The targets are similarly stringent for other animal products, such as eggs and milk.
The ‘Planetary Health Diet’ also advises that we halve our sugar consumption, while doubling our intake of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Switching to a primarily plant-based diet would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% the researchers suggest.
While the diet may seem dramatic, it offers a real solution to the encroaching crisis. But are we as a nation prepared to change? We wanted to test UK consumers’ willingness to adjust their eating and drinking habits in order to protect the environment, as well as their own health.
To do this, Attest surveyed 1,000 working age UK consumers. We also took the opportunity to ask them about their current diets, their concerns about food and the challenges they face in eating well.