Honest Burgers calls on UK beef industry to ‘put planet before profits'

16 March 2023 by
Honest Burgers calls on UK beef industry to ‘put planet before profits'

The co-founder of national restaurant chain Honest Burgers is calling on the British beef industry to "stop kicking supply chain issues into the long grass" and "do more to conserve the environment".

"Whilst the country faces a carbon and biodiversity crisis, businesses continue to blow hot air around so-called innovative carbon offsetting projects," said Tom Barton.

"These campaigns simply act to greenwash customers into blind trust, rather than ask questions like, where does my food actually come from and how is it produced?

A survey commissioned by the burger brand found that almost half of consumers (46%) said they would be more likely to purchase beef if it helped to improve biodiversity.

However, while 60% of British consumers cared about how the meat they eat was produced, almost half (48%) were not willing to pay extra for meat that is incentivised to be more sustainable.

Barton added: "Yes, the industry needs to collectively do better to tackle sustainability with transparency and authenticity, rather than overly relying on carbon offsetting schemes, but as the hospitality trade struggles through the current financial crisis, it is also important to recognise the role our government should be playing too.

"As we see the impact of Brexit on UK agriculture slowly starting to emerge, it is time for the government to step in and do more in terms of incentivising regenerative farming initiatives, which would help bring the costs down for the industry. This survey proves that customers want to do the right thing, but they are not willing to cost commit to paying extra for sustainable beef and why should they?"

Around 30% of Honest Burgers' patties are from ‘regeneratively farmed beef' with hopes to hit 100% "in the near future".

Regenerative farming involves reducing pesticides, moving away from grain to grass-fed livestock and allowing cows to roam and churn the land, which is believed to support soil fertility and store carbon.

However, according to Our World in Data, eating less meat is "nearly always better than sustainable meat" to reduce carbon footprint.

Honest Burgers was launched by Barton and Philip Eeles in Brighton in 2011 and now runs 44 restaurants around the UK.

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