Sainsbury's backs food sustainability initiative by promoting vegetable alternatives to meat

A new collaboration with Oxford University will see vegetarian alternatives stocked alongside meat products in Sainsbury's stores, in a bid to make the food system healthier and more sustainable.

Image: Theilr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Image: Theilr (CC BY SA 2.0)

The project is part of a £5 million programme by independent research funder The Wellcome Trust, titled Our Planet, Our Health.

It will place vegetable-based alternatives on the same shelves as meat products, give vouchers and loyalty points to shoppers who choose vegetarian products, and provide recipes and leaflets to suggest how they can eat less meat.

Head of the programme Sarah Molton said: "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."

Sainsbury's director of brand Judith Batchelar said: "Shoppers can now choose from a much greater variety of produce than they did in the past, especially when it comes to fruit and vegetables. That gives them a greater opportunity to make meat-free choices, which is what we are seeing today. The question is: how can we take that further?"

The initiative comes after a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that eating less meat could reduce global mortality by 6-10 per cent and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30-70 per cent.

Oxford researcher Marco Springmann said: "The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, of which up to 80 per cent are associated with livestock production."


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