Some members of the food industry, including Doug McMaster, owner of sustainable London restaurant Silo, are pushing back on one of the recommendations in the National Food Strategy for government investment in meat alternatives.
The National Food Strategy, overseen by Leon co-founder Henry Dimbleby, which was published earlier this week, made suggestions including a 30% cut in meat consumption replaced by "alternative proteins". The report called for an "innovation cluster" in the sector to feed this demand.
Bold Bean Co owner Amelia Christie-Miller is leading a campaign proposing investment in UK-grown grains and pulses instead of meat alternatives, which is also backed by OmVed Gardens executive chef Arthur Potts-Dawson; Lucy Carr-Ellison, founder of Tart London restaurant and caterer; and Dr Shireen Kassam, a UK-based haematologist and founder of Plant Based Health Professionals.
The campaign said: "Manufactured meat alternatives are often highly processed and are precisely what the report is tackling to fight obesity. Meat-free foods and alternative proteins are ultra-processed and often worse than meat."
It also said the sector was "already booming" and "doesn't need the government's further help", while highlighting the soil benefits of using legumes in the farming system.
Christie-Miller said: "We should be incentivising more people to be eating grains, beans and pulses, not fake ultra-processed meat. If we can create demand for these foods, particularly those grown in the UK, we are not only promoting healthy, minimally-processed protein sources, but we will simultaneously drive growth for British farmers and encourage the planting of crops which are pivotal in protecting our soils from degradation."
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