Scots show strongest support for plant-based diets compared to rest of UK

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» Scots show strongest support for plant-based diets compared to rest of UK

A huge number of Scots say they’d happily get behind plans and policies that actively encourage people to cut back on their meat, dairy and egg consumption in order to help the government achieve its climate objectives, according to new data from The Vegan Society.

In 2019, it was estimated 2% of the Scottish population, around 108,000 people, considered themselves to be vegan*. The same year the Scottish Government announced it would adopt ambitious new targets to become a net-zero society by 2045 – five years before the rest of the UK. In addition, a new proposal was unveiled to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030. It also created a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change to make recommendations to Ministers on how Scotland’s net-zero transition should be achieved.

When asked what government officials should do about food and farming to address the climate crisis, 30% of those in Scotland said they believe the government should be promoting vegan and plant-based diets to address the current climate emergency.

When it comes to which specific policy recommendations to use to promote plant-based diets, Scottish respondents showed higher than average support for every option given. 67%** of Scots who want the government to promote plant-based diets said they’d back public awareness campaigns on the health and environmental benefits – compared to 61% in England, 52% in Northern Ireland, and 47% in Wales. Plus, an impressive 65% believe there should be at least one plant-based, healthy meal on every public sector menu, something The Vegan Society has been directly promoting for years through the Catering for Everyone campaign.

61% felt there should be financial incentives for more locally grown, high protein crops, such as beans, nuts and seeds and 58% suggested there should be packages of support for farmers.

Interestingly, 59% want to see plant-milk offered in public health initiatives for children – something which has recently been adopted by the Scottish Government.

Last year, Glasgow was named the third best place in Europe for vegans to live. The 2020 Diet Destinations Report found the city has the third highest number of takeaways offering vegan-friendly menus in Europe, 57% more than Barcelona and 6% more than Paris.

Louisianna Waring, Insight and Commercial Policy Officer, at The Vegan Society said: “We believe this data is hugely positive for the vegan movement. It is fantastic to see that so many people in Scotland are listening to the science on the impact of dietary choices.”

”Many of the climate solutions on offer can only be achieved if implemented together and promoting plant-based diets is one solution that unlocks several others including reduced deforestation and less water and land use.”

The Vegan Society’s survey follows the United Nations Development Programme‘s Peoples' Climate Vote in January, in which 81% of respondents from the UK said they believe that climate change is a global emergency, while 77% agreed we should do everything necessary and urgently.

If you are interested in dietary change to help tackle the climate crisis, join thousands more in our Plate Up for the Planet pledge today.

*According to 2019 figures from Ipsos MORI

**The Vegan Society conducted research through consumer insight platform Attest during Feb 17-23 2021

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