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Meat and dairy producers have been told they need to ‘push the health benefits’ of eating meat in order to successfully counter the vegan message.
According to pro-meat publication Farmers Weekly, there has been an ‘upsurge in the campaigning efforts of vegan and vegetarian groups to turn people off eating meat and dairy products’.
The publication references Veganuary – and its success this year – as one of the drivers behind the growing number of people dropping their meat intake.
It adds: “Veganuary’s website includes many claims about the way animals are supposedly mistreated on farms.”
According to the meat lobby, ‘positive health messaging’ could persuade some consumers to buy more meat.
Research by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board [AHDB] looked at how health messaging and how it affects consumer habits.
AHDB consumer insight manager Steven Evans said: “Positive health messages could be a good way of promoting these products and convincing people to buy into these categories.”
The AHDB has put together guidelines for producers, telling them what to say, in order to counter the vegan message coming from organizations such as Veganuary.
It has also launched a website explaining how to push a positive message around red meat.
According to its pork guide: “The purpose of this guide is to demonstrate how lean pork can be
promoted to consumers accurately using scientifically substantiated
nutrition and health claims expressed in consumer-friendly language.”
Talking about the claims made by Farmers Weekly, Veganuary Co-founder Matthew Glover told PBN: “Investigations continue to show routine suffering on animal farms and the Veganuary team has seen with our own eyes the heavy toll paid by cows, chickens and pigs when we visited typical UK farms.
“Their suffering is no longer secret, nor can it be denied.
“That may be why the red meat industry is now suggesting its marketers focus instead on the health message, apparently forgetting that red meat has been labelled a ‘probable’ carcinogen by the World Health Organization.
“Rather than fighting the inevitable, we would suggest farmers do what other industries do – listen to their customers, and adapt – in this case to a plant-based future.”