Five major dairy and meat alternative brands have today (20 October) announced the launch of a new ‘Plant-based Food Alliance’ in the UK, established with the aim of promoting the plant-based food and drink industry and cementing Britain as a leader in this field. Founding members include Oatly, Alpro, and the Vegan Society, as well as food awareness organisation ProVeg and plant-based food company Upfield.
Surrey County Council cabinet member for environment Marisa Heath has been appointed as CEO of the new venture. Speaking on its launch, Heath said:
“We’re already seeing people introducing more and more plant-based meals into their diets, driven by a desire to improve their health and to reduce the environmental impact of their food choices. This is a change we’re seeing in every demographic of the population.”
“We have an exciting opportunity to support this people-powered transition to a more sustainable, healthier food system, and to attract more innovation and investment in the UK as we do so,” she adds. “Preparing now for the shift towards plant-based foods will also shore up our national food security for future generations.”
As part of its push to accelerate this transition, the Alliance is set to establish a ‘UK Plant-based Food Charter’ which will provide a framework guiding government and business collaboration in service of promoting plant-based diets. In addition, the group will be advocating for more awareness of the environmental impacts of food and drink products – calling for both clearer labelling on packaging and more public health campaigns educating consumers on plant-based diets.
The Alliance will also be campaigning for more support for farmers transitioning to the new (and fast growing) demand for meat and dairy alternatives.
With the upcoming COP26, Heath says the Alliance will be looking to see what moves global economies will be making to decarbonise the meat and dairy industry.
Speaking about the upcoming Food Strategy White Paper, she says: “With food systems accounting for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions globally, leaders gathering at the COP26 Summit cannot afford to ignore this shift. We need to see plans put in place for making our food choices more sustainable, and plant-based foods are the most impactful way of achieving this. The Government’s forthcoming Food Strategy White Paper presents an opportunity to build on the consumer-led shift towards plant-based food and drinks.”