The British public’s desire to eat more sustainably is being thwarted by the high price of sustainable food and unclear labelling, new research has found.
More than 70% of Brits (71%) surveyed by WWF believe we should eat food that is better for the environment, but 65% think sustainable options are too expensive and 68% say they are difficult to identify and find in shops.
A third, meanwhile, say labelling on food products is unclear and not enough information is available.
The survey commissioned for WWF’s Eat4Change programme also found a lack of public knowledge about the various environmental impacts of food with just 53% claiming to know anything about the destruction of land for agriculture, 50% about pollution of water, air and soil, and 59% about food’s impacts on global warming and climate change.
Two thirds (65%), however, believe that eating sustainable food is key in tackling climate change and the destruction of nature.
Despite almost half (49%) of around 2,000 people surveyed believing our food has a negative impact on the environment, only a third believe their own food choices are negative. They believe responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of our food lies with the UK government (58%), food manufacturers and distributers (58%) and supermarkets and restaurants (45%).
People also believe it’s important to buy food with minimal packaging (41%) and which is unprocessed (36%).
“There is a clear public appetite to reduce the impact of what we eat on the environment,” said Katie White, director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF-UK. “The food we produce and buy is responsible for 60% of global nature loss – it needs to be much easier for us all to make greener choices.”
During the recent COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the CEOs of Co-op, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose committed to slash their impact across climate, deforestation and nature as part of a collective commitment for the food retail sector to halve its overall impact on the natural world by 2030, as tracked by WWF.