Our latest Fruit & Veg briefing is published


We are delighted to release the third in the SHEFS Fruit and Veg series. Brief 3 builds on the findings from Brief 1 and Brief 2 – that fruit and veg consumption is low, that we increasingly import from climate vulnerable countries and that if we ate our 5 a day then there were would be benefits to health as well as carbon footprint. The new brief takes two scenarios to increasing consumption to 5 a day, through reducing meat and increasing veg consumption, and models what impact they would have on biodiversity in the UK, if changes in consumption were mirrored by changes in production. 

Brief 3 finds that, for an increase in consumption of around a portion a day, horticultural land would have to at least double. But, given that this is a tiny percentage of total agricultural land (3%), the impact on biodiversity would not be that great. However, a reduction in meat consumption by between 23-30%, equivalent to around a burger less a week, would free up large amounts of land that could be managed on farms for greater biodiversity - with 536 species gaining more than 10% habitable area.

Governmental strategies to increase veg and decrease meat consumption patterns in the UK are needed alongside a new vision for increasing UK horticultural production sustainably. There is also a need for Environmental Land Management schemes that incentivise livestock farmers to manage some more of their land for greater biodiversity.

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