A recent study by Finder sought to identify the UK’s eating habits, and assess how much vegetarianism, veganism, pescetarianism and eco-conscious food choices in general played a part.
The results were pretty mind-blowing:
In 2020 alone, 40% more of us adopted a vegan diet. This equates to a total of 1.5 million British vegans (which is around 3% of the population).
The study also identified rises in the number of veggies and pescatarians in the UK, as well as people who are more generally making ethical swaps.
It’s incredible to see how much our attitudes have changed over such a short period of time. Plant-based diets are no longer being pushed into the background, or labelled as ‘picky’. Now, menus in restaurants are far more conscious about who they are catering for (remember the times when a veggie’s only choices were salad or stuffed peppers?).
However, not all industries are rushing to make up for lost time. The UK’s wonderful network of talented independent businesses have been working to make the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle more accessible for many years.
As is so often the case with indies, they were ahead of the trend.
Independent businesses – ran by conscientious entrepreneurs, who felt moved by the global climate crisis to work towards the eco-friendly movement – have provided us with everything from ‘facon’ to bamboo face cloths, and there’s no sign of stopping yet.
In this blog post we’ll be discussing the switch to a more ethical way of shopping, what it means to be flexitarian, and how the UK’s online businesses can help.
What does it mean to be a flexitarian?
Flexitarianism has emerged from a rising awareness of the potential that plant-based eating has to help our planet.
Take this fascinating study as an example. According to research from Oxford Martin School, if humanity’s diet across the globe was less reliant on meat and instead featured more fruit and vegetables, the results could be that: the transition “could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoided climate damages of $1.5 trillion (US).”
You can’t argue with those stats.
Flexitarianism has risen in popularity from a desire amongst many of us to do something about this. Many people want to work towards improving their own diet, but don’t feel ready to take on a full veggie or vegan lifestyle. And that’s ok – there’s no pressure to ban meat consumption forever, it’s all about making an effort to reduce it.
So, to be a flexitarian, your diet will consist of an increased proportion of plant-based meals. It would mean that you make an effort to restrict the meat that you eat to (for example) two or three times a week. The rest of the time, you go veggie.
This way, you can still eat meat, but you’re making a conscious effort to try your hand at veggie meals.
Some of you may be wondering ‘why bother putting a label on it?’, but actually, there’s a lot to be said for the term flexitarian. This sense of achievement – the feeling that you’re actually doing something about climate change – is highly rewarding. As a result, it means that you’re more likely to stick with these efforts for longer.
Furthermore, it shows a nuanced approach to the matter. The whole world doesn’t need to turn veggie, but if a bulk of us tried to turn flexie, that would do wonders for the environment. This way, everyone is being encouraged to do their bit, without scaring off the keen meat-eaters into swearing off it for good.
How do you suggest I make the swap?
Short answer – see the fun in it!
The veggie and vegan food scene has absolutely flourished in recent months. So, enjoy exploring all the new foods, dishes, condiments and ingredients out there for you to try.
In addition, more and more brands are making sustainable swaps in their production methods. For example, keep an eye out for brands that are no longer using palm oil, or that are using recyclable packaging, and support them.
You can make your weekly shop more eco-conscious by simply reducing the amount of meat that you put into your basket. The less of it there is in the house, the less likely you’ll be to depend on it to structure your meals.
With that in mind, before you start your shop, check out veggie and vegan recipes online. This will help you to get a sense of what ingredients you should stock up on for your weekly meals.
Also, browse the websites and product ranges of indie businesses for inspiration. These guys have got some incredible ideas, which are certain to make your new flexie meals infinitely more delicious.
What environmentally-friendly products would you recommend that I try?
Ah, well I’m glad you asked.
There is, quite literally, a boundless array of eco-conscious food and drink out there for you to sample. We’ve got some fantastic food and drink suppliers listed with us at Roe River, who are committed to environmentally-friendly practices.
To give you a taste of what’s on offer, we’d recommend that you browse the likes of:
Exhale healthy coffee – a health-conscious producer of ethical, vegan and organic all-natural coffee.
Friars – their vegan chocolate selections are decadence unparalleled.
Freda’s Peanut Butter – whipping up a vegan breakfast has never been easier.
Chosan – not only do these all-natural, superfood spreads taste incredible, but their ethos is firmly charitable, too.
Holy Lama Naturals – with natural extract spice drops to hand, your new dishes will never be dull.
But, why stop at food? These principles can be applied to all aspects of our lifestyle.
Businesses like The Mission Better Box are a great place to start. These shops provide you with a great insight into the wide range of eco-friendly products that are available to buy. At Mission Better, you can purchase a bamboo toothbrush, reusable makeup remover pads and sustainable dog toys all from one location. You can make sustainable swaps all round your home in one fell swoop.
The world is changing and, as we recognise the pressing need for it, more and more of us are willing to do our bit for the environment.
Sustainability is far more than a buzz word used amongst hippies – nowadays, it’s a principle that the majority value and strive towards.
But, innovations from eco-conscious indies are certain to make the switch towards flexitarianism a whole lot easier. Now, sustainability is something that we can all realistically work towards achieving in our daily lives.