Low-methane ice-cream can help tackle global warming, say producers

The world’s first climate-friendly ice-cream has arrived in London, according to reports this week.

Mootral, a British-Swiss agritech company, has joined forces with Ruby Violet, an ice-cream parlour in the capital, to develop a product that they claim is “an important step in tackling the climate crisis”. 

The MaxiMootral ice-cream is made with milk from cows that are fed using a methane-reducing ruminant feed, reports Foodnavigator. Mootral CEO Thomas Hafner said he now wants to accelerate the production of “climate smart milk”.

According to Mootral’s website, its “100% natural feed supplement significantly reduces methane emissions from the enteric fermentation of ruminants. It is based on a proprietary combination of garlic and citrus extract and is produced in a pellet format.”

The company has also sponsored research that showed a 30% average reduction in methane emissions when cows on a UK farm were fed the supplement for 12 weeks.

The livestock sector is currently grappling with how to market sustainable products. However, campaigners say current approaches are greenwashing.

The Changing Markets Foundation recently assessed dozens of claims made by food and drink companies against the green claims code – which was published in 2021 by the Competition and Markets Authority to help companies avoid making misleading environmental claims. Many brands are misleading customers the NGO claimed.

Burger King for example has previously advertised a reduced methane Whooper, which it claimed – on the basis of an unfinished study – that feeding lemongrass to cows would reduce methane emissions by 30%. The Changing Markets Foundation pointed to research suggesting that the real figure is closer to 3%. The ad was later removed following a backlash from farmers and scientists. 

They are particularly concerned with “rampant” greenwashing on meat and dairy products.

Greenwashing provides a “veneer of sustainability for an industry that is responsible for a third of global methane emissions and is the main driver of deforestation”, explained campaigns director Nusa Urbancic. 

A YouGov poll commissioned by Changing Markets showed that 31% of UK consumers are more likely to buy meat and dairy labelled ‘low methane’, while 22% claim that they are willing to pay slightly ‘more’ or ‘much more’ for it.

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