Retail campaigns accused of misleading consumers about food choices


Recent media campaigns by large supermarkets have been criticized for misinforming consumers and undermining Britain’s livestock sector about the healthiest and safest foods for the planet.

The National Sheep Association has said it believes ‘misleading’ promotional advertising will lead to uninformed food choices, confusing and undermining public understanding of the sustainable food production systems used in the UK.

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Recent Waitrose promotional literature has suggested that customers can reduce their carbon footprint by eating pork rather than lamb, and Sainsburys is encouraging customers to take high-quality British red meat a step further, replacing it with high-quality British red meat. lentils.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “People are bombarded with all kinds of messages about how diets can help tackle climate change and there is no doubt that the data used to support these messages are wrong.

“It is not a complete life cycle, it is not holistic in its structure, and as the National Food Strategy report points out, the overseas part of the carbon footprint is often not taken. into account, ”he explained.

“It is completely misleading not to reflect the real picture, we have to consider broader sustainability measures. ”

The NSA this week called on major supermarkets and stakeholders to be very clear in their comments and to bring more logic, evidence and reason to the debate on food, especially red meat.

He pointed out that globally, while livestock could contribute 14% of all greenhouse gases (GHGs), in the UK, GHGs from animal production totaled only 6%. , which made him one of the smallest contributors and proved that our approach to animal production was very different from “world agriculture”.

The NSA pointed out that transportation had the highest emissions at 27%, with energy supply at 21%, businesses at 17%, the residential sector at 15% and across all agricultural sectors at 10%.

He said the adoption of regenerative agriculture – which in many cases is a modern form of traditional farming practices – with rotating crops, incorporating grass breaks and a harmonious balance with nature, supported an approach conventional and holistic to provide a healthy planet and a healthy food system.

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In addition, there are many examples of where sheep play a central role, added Stocker.

His organization believed there were also other key areas to address, where large retailers can support a common goal, such as reducing food waste – which globally accounts for 10% of GHGs.

He also indicated that reducing the consumption of too many hyper-processed foods and supporting those who suffer from a lack of vital micronutrients in their diets; many of which are only available in sufficient quantities through the consumption of foods of animal origin, should also be encouraged

Mr Stocker continued: “Ensuring that food and agriculture play their part in climate change through diets and farming practices is fair and appropriate – but we absolutely need to make sure people take action. well-informed decisions with more accurate data, and we also need all of our industries to play their part.

“Agriculture and food can be part of the solution, but it should not be the scapegoat,” he said.


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