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Recent data has shown that animal foods like meat and dairy have a bigger environmental footprint than vegan options, with a 2018 Oxford University study suggesting that opting for a plant-based diet could have a significant impact on an individual’s footprint.
So how eco-friendly is eating vegan junk food? And are they an answer to the climate crisis?
‘Is this the answer?’
In this exclusive Plant Based News interview with journalist and author George Monbiot, PBN editor Maria Chiorando asked about whether these products are helpful in tackling the climate crisis.
She said: “More food producers are becoming aware of the vegan pound and wanting to cash in on it, which means we’re seeing more of these highly-processed vegan foods which have a lot of ingredients, they’re often packaged in plastic, and they’ve been flown halfway around the world. Is this really the answer?”
‘It needs to improve’
“There’s a lot of vegan junk food out there, and that needs massively to change and to improve. It’s got to be healthy, it’s got to have low impact, because that’s the whole point of it, isn’t it?” said Monbiot.
“There are companies quite cynically cashing in on this, but actually, some of the companies are also really aware that they will be judged on their environmental footprint.
“There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in food technology and I think we’re going to see some big changes, and it will be easier to make really good, high-quality vegan food with a very low environmental footprint.”
He added that what we are seeing at the moment is ‘the experimental phase’ – a response to the massive increase in plant-based diets.
“As the technologies develop, and as the pressures develops to have very low footprint, very healthy, very tasty food, things are going to change, I’m sure that is true,” Monbiot said.
“And I’m incredibly excited actually by some of the huge qualitative shifts that are taking place at the moment.”