Knowledge for better food systems

The Case for Protein Diversity - Accelerating the adoption of more sustainable eating patterns in the UK

This white paper, produced by the independent sustainability company The Carbon Trust and sponsored by Quorn Foods, argues that greater diversity of main ingredients would be better for Britain both from a health and climate perspective. Increasing the diversity of UK protein choices is described as a practical way to promote more sustainable diets with lower impacts on health and environment.

The Case for Protein Diversity looks at the impact of some of the most popular protein-rich main ingredients eaten today in the UK, as well as some less common options that have the potential for wider adoption. The proteins considered range from meat, fish and eggs, through to pulses, meat alternatives and insects.

The following recommendations on how to improve the diversity of protein-rich main ingredients eaten in the UK were highlighted in the report’s press release:

  • Flexitarianism: consumers should be encouraged to experiment in meal choices, for example trying one new dish each week that does not use meat as the main protein source.
  • Regulation and voluntary schemes: policy makers and industry should create or promote schemes that integrate health and environmental issues by changing consumer pricing, or improving nutritional information.
  • Food campaigns: as part of the change process, credible campaigns should use increased diversity of main ingredients as a key message to improve consumer behaviour.
  • Education and skills: there is a need to promote knowledge and capability to use a greater variety of protein-rich main ingredients.
  • Diversity of production and supply: UK farmers, food manufacturers and retailers should be engaged and encouraged to produce more diverse protein choices.
  • Improving choice architecture: retailers and food service businesses should consider how they can encourage greater diversity in protein choices using a combination of replacement, reformulation, marketing, and pricing.

The report is careful to state that it expresses the independent views of its authors and that it was reviewed by a panel of experts from academia, industry, NGOs and the public sector.

Read more about the report and see it in full on The Carbon Trust’s website here.

In related reading you may be interested in a report written by the FCRN and Chatham House which  looks at the role (and limitations) of voluntary agreements entitled Policies and actions to shift eating patterns: What works?  A paper we highlighted earlier in November 2015 also discusses the effectiveness of voluntary approaches; see Using regulation as a last resort? Assessing the performance of voluntary approaches.

You can find more related resources by following the links to sustainable healthy diets, meat eggs and alternatives, other meat types, protein, consumer perceptions and preferences, public attitudes, consumption and diets, consumption and production trends, dietary trends, , governance and policy, voluntary measures and approaches.

You can read related research by browsing the following categories of our research library:

Add comment

Member input

Plain text

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.




Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

View articles relating to Europe


Food industry

Agri-producers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers etc.

Food industry

Doc Type