Climate change is one of the biggest stories on the news agenda, and with more Brits than ever being increasingly aware of their impact on the environment, there has been a rise in the number of businesses trying to become more sustainable and innovative to offset their carbon footprint
One of the most impacted sectors following the ‘Blue Planet effect’ is the food and agriculture industry, which has seen the biggest shake-up in recent years. As part of its Environmental Innovations series, which examines the way British businesses and consumers are adapting to become more environmentally friendly, innovation specialist MPA considers the biggest factors that are overhauling the industry.
With a recent scientific study claiming that avoiding meat and dairy is ‘the biggest way to reduce your environmental impact’, it’s no surprise that there has been an increase in the number of Brits choosing an animal-free diet. Research by MPA, conducted through YouGov Profiles, found that one in 7 (14%) would class themselves as flexitarian, eating a reduced meat diet, 4% as a vegetarian and 3% pescatarian. Although only 1% of the respondents classed themselves as vegan, the research also found that one in 20 (5%) say they are likely or somewhat likely to go vegan in next 12 months.
It seems that Brits also want businesses to keep up with the growing trend, with 45% agreeing that restaurants should offer more vegan or vegetarian options and a fifth (20%) in favour of fast-food restaurants serving meatless substitutes. As McDonald’s launch the PLT, a plant-based version of its classic burger menu staple, and KFC introduce its Original Recipe Vegan Burger it seems even the biggest corporations are overhauling their practices.
A diet free from unnecessary ingredients and additives is also an increasing trend among consumers. A rising global population and depletion of resources means that companies are continuously looking for alternative ways to produce items with similar nutritional value. However, the research found that the nation is shunning modified food for a more ‘natural’ diet. Over a third (36%) of those surveyed say they don’t buy food that is genetically modified, and 34% prefer to serve organic and natural foods to their family.
The data also found that one in five (21%) adults are avoiding palm oil, a product known to be a major cause of the devastation of the rainforest and threat to the world’s orangutan population.
Meanwhile, nearly half (47%) of respondents say they don’t mind paying more for goods that don’t contain artificial additives.
The research revealed the food ingredients most avoided by Brits as:
1. Palm oil - 21%
2. Preservatives - 12%
3. GMOs - 10%
4. Polyunsaturated fats - 8%
5. = Stabilising agents - 5%
5. = MSG - 5%
The pressure to provide products free from artificial ingredients isn’t only felt by manufacturers, but also at the beginning of the process - almost half (45%) of respondents believe farmers shouldn’t be allowed to feed cattle GM food.
Stuart Bentley, Delivery Manager at MPA said: “The food and drink industry is one of the most affected following the nation’s incredible reaction to Blue Planet. From the hospitality industry, right through to the farmers producing the crops, businesses have needed to adapt to create a more sustainable business model and react to customer demand - and the industry will need to constantly evolve to keep up.”
To find out more about the British businesses that are using innovation to drive the food and drink industry forward, visit: https://mpa.co.uk/innovating-to-stay-ahead-of-the-game-in-the-food-and-drink-industry/