Tag: meat

A load of tripe?

12th Mar 20 by Christina O'Sullivan

To eat meat or not to eat meat, is that the right question?

Big Livestock, the rearing of livestock on an industrial scale, has a massive negative impact on our planet, 36% of world crops are used to feed livestock, not people. Meanwhile, animal-based foods (meat and dairy) only deliver 12% of the world’s food calories. For environmental reasons many of us have turned to meat-free diets to reduce our carbon footprint. For those of us who want to eat meat we need to adopt a ‘Less and Better’ approach and I have an offal-y good place to start.

Recent research focusing on Germany’s meat supply chain showed the single most effective way to reduce emissions from producing meat is unsurprisingly to eat less of it, showing that halving meat consumption could reduce Germany’s meat emissions by 32%. The study also showed that eating more offal could significantly reduce emissions. If 50% less offal was wasted, then emissions could fall by 14%. If we are going to eat meat, we should eat the whole animal. Eating more offal and reducing overall meat consumption means less intensive meat production i.e. less animals living in factory farms.

This approach should be adopted across all the food we eat; nose to tail, fin to gill and root to stem. Waste is not just what goes in the bin but in the food we often opt to overlook. Feedback’s productivity principle stipulates minimal environmental damage for maximum nutrition consumed and the same principle should be applied to how we eat at home. It takes so much precious natural resources to produce the food on our plates it is important to make the most of it. Plus, if like me you enjoy getting creative in the kitchen it is a fun challenge. For some inspiration check out our Alchemic Kitchen who work magic with surplus food.

“Offal opens up the sense of the whole beast to the Western world, gives greater value to those cuts and brings back greater skills into our kitchens,” Trevor Gulliver, co-founder the first nose-to-tail restaurant, St. John, in London

Maybe the answer isn’t solely focusing on restricting our diets but enjoying a greater more sustainable variety. Less chicken breasts and more tripe – try it you might love it!


What can you do next?

Follow us on Instagram to see our work in action.

Follow us

Yes to the Amazon Soy Moratorium, No to soy industry expansion plans

5th Dec 19 by Karen Luyckx, Head of Research

Overall 75% of global soy production ends up in animal feed.

Feedback’s reaction to “An open letter on soy and the Amazon” published on 3 December 2019 and signed by a wide group of industry stakeholders alongside some civil society stakeholders.

Feedback applauds and supports the signatories in their wish to uphold the Amazon Soy Moratorium, which has contributed to reduce deforestation in the regions where it is implemented. However, Feedback wishes to express its dismay at the open letter’s complete disregard of the science on soy production as a driver of deforestation in the Amazon and other South American and African biomes.

While cattle ranching is the major direct cause of deforestation in the Amazon, soybean production is still an indirect driver of deforestation, even within the Amazon Soy Moratorium area1. Moreover, soy is the major driver of deforestation in the Chaco and Cerrado biomes2,3, and global growth of the industry is driving a conflict between soybean production, communities and conservation in Africa’s savannas and dry forests, which contain astonishing biodiversity4,5.

During the last decade, soy traders in the Brazilian market with zero-deforestation commitments – Cargill, Bunge, ADM and Amaggi – have been associated with similar deforestation risk in both the Amazon and Cerrado as companies that have not made such commitments6. In 2018, five traders and multiple soy farmers were fined US$29 million by the Brazilian government for cultivating and purchasing soybean connected with illegal deforestation7. Two of these companies had zero-deforestation commitments.

Evidence of the link between soybean and cattle ranching in the form of pasture-to-cropland conversion is well documented by statistics and remote sensing data8. Linkages between soybean and cattle production are intensifying, and many of the larger agribusiness companies in Brazil and Argentina are commonly active in both soybeans and cattle9. Overall, 75% of global soy production ends up in animal feed10; when livestock production is intensified using less land directly, it is increasing its land use through feed production.

Loopholes in the current Soy Moratorium and the G4 cattle agreement do not prevent some farmers involved in deforestation from selling their products to domestic and international supply chains 1,11–13.

This is why Feedback calls for a 50% reduction in meat and dairy consumption, in particular of industrially produced meat and dairy, because this reduction is essential to combat the climate and biodiversity emergency. In a world where people eat food that is good for human and planetary health, there is no need whatsoever for expanding the global meat industry, and that includes the production of soy for animal feed.


  1. Gollnow, F., Hissa, L. de B. V., Rufin, P. & Lakes, T. Property-level direct and indirect deforestation for soybean production in the Amazon region of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Land Use Policy 78, 377–385 (2018).
  2. Fehlenberg, V. et al. The role of soybean production as an underlying driver of deforestation in the South American Chaco. Glob. Environ. Change 45, 24–34 (2017).
  3. Pendrill, F. & Persson, U. M. Combining global land cover datasets to quantify agricultural expansion into forests in Latin America: Limitations and challenges. PloS One 12, e0181202 (2017).
  4. Action Aid Brazil & Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (2017). Impactos da Expanssão do agronegócio no matopbia: Comunidades e meio ambiente.
  5. Gasparri, N. I., Kuemmerle, T., Meyfroidt, P., Waroux, Y. le P. de & Kreft, H. The Emerging Soybean Production Frontier in Southern Africa: Conservation Challenges and the Role of South-South Telecouplings. Conserv. Lett. 9, 21–31 (2016).
  6. West, C. D., Green, J. M. H. & Croft, S. Trase Yearbook 2018: Sustainability in forest-risk supply chains: Spotlight on Brazilian soy. (2018).
  7. Byrne, J. Traders, farmers fined over links to deforestation in Cerrado. feednavigator.com (2018).
  8. Arima, E. Y., Richards, P., Walker, R. & Caldas, M. M. Statistical confirmation of indirect land use change in the Brazilian Amazon. Environ. Res. Lett. 6, 024010 (2011).
  9. Gasparri, N. I. & Waroux, Y. le P. de. The Coupling of South American Soybean and Cattle Production Frontiers: New Challenges for Conservation Policy and Land Change Science. Conserv. Lett. 8, 290–298 (2015).
  10. Brack, D., Glover, A. & Wellesley, L. Agricultural Commodity Supply Chains. (2016).
  11. Alix-Garcia, J. & Gibbs, H. K. Forest conservation effects of Brazil’s zero deforestation cattle agreements undermined by leakage. Glob. Environ. Change 47, 201–217 (2017).
  12. Rausch, L. L. & Gibbs, H. K. Property Arrangements and Soy Governance in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso: Implications for Deforestation-Free Production. Land 5, 7 (2016).
  13. Klingler, M., Richards, P. D. & Ossner, R. Cattle vaccination records question the impact of recent zero-deforestation agreements in the Amazon. Reg. Environ. Change 18, 33–46 (2018).


What can you do next?

Follow us on Instagram to see our work in action.

Follow us

Will the supermarkets Meat Us Halfway on meat?

13th Aug 19 by Phil Holtam, report author

Find out how the supermarkets performed in our 'less and better' meat scorecard.

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report detailing the evidence for major and sweeping changes to our agriculture and land use, including shifts to more sustainable diets in places (like the UK) where meat and dairy consumption is already too high. We published our first response last week, looking at how Feedback thinks policy-makers should be responding to this challenge.

But what about some of the Big Food businesses with the greatest power in our food system? Yes, you guessed it, supermarkets.

Supermarkets, as the main provider of groceries for the majority of UK households, have a vital role to play for this dietary change to happen. So we’ve been looking into the biggest ten UK supermarkets and assessed their efforts at both the corporate and store level to support the public in shifting to sustainable and healthy diets. And we’ve found that, whilst there are signs of progress for some stores, most of them have a long way to go.

What did we base our assessment on?

Our scorecard uses two sets of indicators. The first set looks at publicly available information on corporate policies and commitments around sustainable animal feed, deforestation, and science-based climate change targets and reporting. This would include ensuring the climate impact of supply chains is fully recognised in supermarket operations, and a commitment to promoting consumption of healthy, plant-based foods, with a named champion within the business holding this responsibility. We’ve also used existing publicly available data into our scorecard from organisations such as FAIRR, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Food Foundation.

The second set of indicators looks at the in-store experience, assessed via ‘mystery shopper’ visits to a small sample of stores. Here we were looking for, among other things, a strong offering of ‘better meat’ (i.e. meat which is RSPCA assured, free-range, or organic), prominent shelf position of meat-free proteins, clear guidance on healthy and sustainable meat consumption, and labels that refrain from mis-leading marketing, such as ‘fake farm’ brands. We also drew on Eating Better’s assessments of the proportion of ready meals, sandwiches and salads which are meat-free.

Using these indicators we looked at the major 10 supermarkets and awarded points based on 24 different criteria regarding their progress in shifting their offerings away from meat, as well as looking at the quality of the produce they do sell.

How did your supermarket do in our scorecard?

















We found that across the high street there is a real difference in the efforts retailers are making to respond to the climatic need for different food on our plates. Coming in at the bottom of our ranking, on a score of only 14%, was Iceland.

Despite recent moves to ban plastics in store, as well as their high-profile work on palm oil, Iceland lost points due to being one of just two retailers with no publicly available corporate policy on sustainable animal feed, and for being the only retailer not to have publicly signed up to the Cerrado Manifesto, which supports a halt to deforestation in Brazil’s Cerrado savannah. Despite having some vegan foods on offer, Iceland has the lowest proportion of vegetarian ready meals of any retailer, at just 7% , and their fresh meat offer consists of products meeting only the regulatory minimum, without any provision of ‘better’ meat, such as free range or RSPCA assured. Iceland has a long way to go towards ‘less and better’ meat, but so do fellow low rankers Morrisons, ASDA and Aldi.

Those at the top of the ranking shouldn’t feel complacent though – we’re still not seeing the sort of radical and brave commitments to selling less meat (and more ‘better’ meat) which will be needed for real change.

A recent Eating Better/YouGov poll found increasingly demand for plant-based foods with more people than ever before identifying as vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian. Of course these figures have their geographical and generational nuances, with younger urban-dwellers more likely to avoid meat, but the trend is clear; the UK public is ready for a dietary shift.

It’s time the supermarkets went beyond following the demand and meat us halfway.

By giving customers access to better quality meat and dairy produce, as well as offering meat-alternatives to help people reduce their meat and dairy consumption, they could make a real difference. Ultimately we think any supermarket which is serious about shouldering their responsibility for the impact of the food system on our planet will commit to halving their meat sales by 2030 overall, and stocking a higher proportion of high quality meat, such as year round pasture-fed.

Read the full scorecard.

What can you do next?