Knowledge for better food systems

Eating better sustainable diets policy recommendations

This policy briefing by the Eating Better alliance, aimed at UK Government, Devolved Administrations and the EU, recommends that action be taken to shift eating patterns towards less and better quality meat, and more plant-based foods.

Eating Better highlights the animal welfare, food security, environmental and health benefits of such a shift. In particular, they emphasise the need for radical action on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions (14.5% of which are thought to be attributable to livestock) if we are to meet our climate commitments.

They key message is that governments should:

  • Integrate sustainable food policies with farming policies, and ensure that strategies to meet national and international climate change agreements and sustainable development goals include the role of the food and agricultural sector.
  • Integrate advice concerning sustainable (as well as healthy) diets into the UK’s official dietary guidelines (the “eatwell plate”).
  • Introduce mandatory health and sustainability standards for caterers buying in food.
  • Support farmers in shifting to more sustainable, healthy and ethical produce.
  • Support the innovation and growth of plant-based protein options as part of integrating the “eat less and better” goal into UK business growth policy.
  • Regulate to restrict antibiotic use in agriculture.
  • Participate in reforming the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to deliver a European Healthy Sustainable Food and Farming Policy.

The briefing also reports on the results of a 2014 YouGov poll carried out for Eating Better, showing that a significant proportion of the UK public would be willing to reduce their meat intake.


This briefing outlines the policy recommendations of the Eating Better alliance for the UK Government, Devolved Administrations and EU. It has been produced in consultation with our 47 supporting organisations & partner networks.

Eating Better is calling for action by governments, the food industry and all those who can make a difference to encourage people to eat a greater variety of plant-based foods and less meat; and to support farming that produces meat in ways that benefit the environment, and animal welfare. This ‘less and better’ approach to meat eating can be fairer, greener and healthier for people and the planet.


Eating Better (2016) Policy Options for Promoting Healthy Sustainable Diets in the UK Why It Matters? What's Needed?

Read the full briefing here.

You can find related resources in the Research Library categories on Governance and Policy, Climate Change Mitigation, Health Issues and Animal Issues as well as the keywords categories on Animal Welfare/Health, Animal Ethics, Antibiotics and Other Drugs, GHG Impacts and Mitigation, Health Policy, Livestock and  Mitigation Policies.

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

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