National Vegetarian Week: the latest plant-based insights
18th May 2023
Written by HRS Communications
National Vegetarian Week runs from the 15th – 21st May and is dedicated to making vegetables the star of the plate.1 By introducing more plant-based meals to your weekly diet, this supports not only our own health, but the health of the planet too.
So, this blog explores the latest insights and innovations in plant-based eating, as well as the role of plant-based diets in future.
Innovation in plant-based products
Meat substitutes and the array of plant-based options are ever-growing and scientists and product developers are continuously working on creating new products. This includes lab-based meat using cellular agriculture.2
In fact, plant-based research and development has never been more advanced.
In addition to this, vegetarian and vegan options in the supermarkets continue to grow. This is good news for our environment as a 2023 report suggests that animal-based meals, whether homemade or a supermarket ready meal, produce more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based alternatives.3
What is the size of the plant-based market?
Data suggests that 22% of the United Kingdom (U.K.) population are either vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian.4 To support this growing market, the U.K. Gov Eatwell Guide have produced different versions to support different dietary lifestyles.5 This includes the vegetarian and vegan Eatwell guide.6,7
Non-profit organisations such as Veganuary has seen more 2.5 million people pledge to cut out animal-derived products from their diet for one month or longer.8 Furthermore, information provided in the Eatwell guides are crucial for ensuring healthy changes and prioritising nutrition.
Eating more plants in future
In 2019, the EAT-Lancet ‘Food Planet Health’ report 9 concluded that in order to feed the estimated 10 billion inhabitants of earth by 2050 and to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals10, food consumption habits must change and sustainability must be the main focus. They report that “food is the single strongest lever to optimise human health and environmental sustainability on Earth“.
And the change with the biggest impact? Shifting to a predominantly plant-based diet with minimal animal-derived sources.
How can we eat a more plant-based diet?
Often, the biggest challenge with changing someone’s diet is knowing where to start. To make change sustainable, individuals may consider making small adjustments to the meals they eat now.
It may be useful to experiment when cooking or consider the vegetarian options on the menu. The design of menus can influence meal choice.11 However, when reading menus, individuals can look out for the handy ‘V’ or ‘Ve’ signs to be signposted to plant-based options.
To find out more, visit the National Vegetarian Week website here to receive support, information, and easy recipes.
This blog was written in partnership with our intern team at HRS Communications.
1. National Vegetarian Week (2023) Sign up now for national vegetarian week 2023. [online] Available at: https://www.nationalvegetarianweek.org/ [Accessed: 02 May 2023].
2. Jahir, N.R. et al. (2023) Cultured meat in cellular agriculture: advantages, applications and challenges, Food Bioscience. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbio.2023.102614
3. Aceves-Martins, M., Denton, P., and Roos, B. (2023) Ready meals, especially those that are animal-based and cooked in an oven, have lower nutritional quality and higher greenhouse gas emissions and are more expensive than equivalent home-cooked meals, Public Health Nutrition, 26(3), pp. 531-539. Doi: 10.1017/S1368980023000034
4. Our World in Data (2022) What share of people say the are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian? [online] Available at: https://ourworldindata.org/vegetarian-vegan [Accessed: 02 May 2023].
5. GOV.UK (2016) The Eatwell Guide. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide [Accessed: 02 May 2023].
6. The Vegetarian Society (2018) Vegetarian Eatwell Guide. [online] Available at: https://vegsoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Eatwell_guide_veggie_MAR2018.pdf [Accessed: 02 May 2023].
7. The Vegan Society (2020) Vegan Eatwell Guide. [online] Available at: https://www.vegansociety.com/sites/default/files/uploads/downloads/The%20Vegan%20Eatwell%20Guide_1.pdf [Accessed: 02 May 2023].
8. Veganuary (2023) Try vegan this month. [online] Available at: https://veganuary.com/ [Accessed: 02 May 2023].
9. EAT-Lancet (2019) Food Planet Health. [online] Available at: https://eatforum.org/content/uploads/2019/07/EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf [Accessed: 02 May 2023].
10. United Nations (2015) The 17 Goals. [online] Available at: https://sdgs.un.org/goals [Accessed: 02 May 2023].
11. Parkin, B.L. and Attwood, S. (2022) Menu design approaches to promote sustainable vegetarian food choices when dining out, Journal of Environment Psychology, 79. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101721