Meat consumption can be a controversial topic for some, with 7.2 million adults in the UK now consuming meat-free diets. But it’s important to know all the facts about meat. Here’s some information for you about meat and the UK meat industry:
- Each year, the average Briton consumes 61kg of animal protein, with almost 30k of this coming from poultry.
- 74% of the meat we consume comes from British farms, with the rest being imported. The main countries we import from are New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands.
- We don’t just import meat, we also export it to countries like Ireland, France, the Netherlands, and China. The meat that’s exported is usually offal and by-products from processing. These exports are essential for the meat industry as money made from cuts sold to UK customers does not cover costs involved in producing and processing the meat. This also helps prevent waste from the meat industry.
- By-products of the meat industry aren’t always exported. They can also be used for a variety of purposes including commercial compost, fertilisers, pet food, and biodiesel.
- Purchasing products with the red tractor logo means that they are produced in Britain, so if you want to support British farmers be sure to look for the red tractor logo on your meat and dairy products.
- Britain has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, joint with the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, and Sweden.
- Meat gets a bad reputation for not being sustainable, but due to our climate and landscape the UK has one of the most sustainable meat and dairy industries in the world. In fact, the dairy and red meat we produce contributes just 5% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, 90% of the water used to feed livestock comes from rainwater and the cows and sheep are often grazed on land that can’t be used to grow crops, such as grassland, meadows, hills, and mountains.
- Although meat is well known for its high protein content, this isn’t the only nutrient they provide. Other nutrients commonly found in meat include potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and Vitamin B3.
- Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for our bodies as it helps our immune systems to work properly and helps make red blood cells. This vitamin is hard to source from plant products but is found naturally in red meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. If you don’t eat animal products it’s important to make sure you get your vitamin B12 from fortified foods such as milk alternatives, some breakfast cereals, and yeast extract, or from supplements.