Environmental Concerns Prompting Consumers To Switch Diets

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Environmental Concerns Prompting Consumers To Switch Diets

A sizeable number of consumers that are changing what they eat say they are doing so for environmental reasons, a study by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has found.

The group surveyed some 27,000 people across 23 countries, asking them if they were changing or planning to change their diet. Of the 22,000 that answered 'yes', 43% said that it was down to environmental reasons, alongside health and price.

The biggest shift in diet is away from red meat, the study found, with 39% of shoppers cutting their consumption of meats such as beef and lamb over the past two years, and 37% saying they are eating more vegetables.

One in ten respondents said that they were eating more seafood, but three in ten said that they are eating less. More than a quarter (27%) said that they would eat more seafood in the future if they knew that it wasn't causing harm to the oceans.

Public Perception

The research was commissioned by MSC and undertaken by GlobeScan, whose executive director, Caroline Holme, commented, “These results mirror our broader findings in our annual healthy and sustainable living study and the public’s perception of the challenges that the world faces.


"Even amid a cost-of-living crisis, environmental issues are of major concern to consumers.”

The study also found that seafood consumers are increasingly concerned about the state of the world's oceans, with 48% saying they are concerned about overfishing, and 35% concerned about the impact of climate change.

Close to two thirds (64%) said that they feel an 'increased desire' to protect the marine environment, while more than half said that they had a good understanding of the importance of sustainable fishing practices.

'State Of The Ocean'

“The results of the survey show a growing public concern about the state of our ocean," added Rupert Howes, chief executive of the MSC. "Protecting it, and the diversity of life within it is vital for the health of the planet. We need to re-double our collective efforts to tackle overfishing and the threat it poses. Incentivising positive change, through recognising and rewarding sustainable fisheries is vital for progress.

"By supporting sustainable fisheries, we can all play a part in improving the ocean environment as well as protecting a valuable food resource for this and future generations.”

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