You may not be surprised to learn that the average UK family tends to rotate between just nine meals. You will be even less surprised to learn that many of these staple suppers contain meat. 

Here we joined with the likes of LEON, Food Cycle and many more to re-hash some firm family favourites whilst lightening the load, offering a roster of recipes that are a little lighter for you and the planet. Less is more so to speak. 

Click on the recipe book below. Tuck in, re-imagine your culinary repertoire and give teatime a twist.

So, what's the issue?

Discussing any type of environmental change can be like walking barefoot on broken glass. On almost any subject the chances are you will be hit with an outburst of moral indignation from groups saying you are limiting freedom of choice, that you are part of a global conspiracy or looking to impose increased taxes and government control.

Nowhere is this more likely to happen than if you suggest that we need to broaden diets to reduce meat consumption. There has been a growing level of evidence that a less meat intensive diet reduces climate impact and we know that many developing countries are moving to more meat heavy diets.

The Chinese government is sufficiently concerned that it has outlined a plan to reduce its citizens’ meat consumption by 50%. This could reduce carbon emissions by 1bn tonnes by 2030 and lesson obesity and diabetes.

This would never happen in the UK, so how can we start an informed debate without incurring the wrath of meat producers and lovers?

In collaboration with the University of Southampton, Hubbub has tentatively dipped our toes into this contentious pool with a project called Protein Pressures. As with everything we do we have started by seeking to understand what are the emotional and cultural drivers that lead to our diets.

Our research discovered a vast range of reasons linking the majority to a meat heavy diet. There were health concerns that cutting down on meat would not provide sufficient protein especially for children. There was a belief that making meals without meat was less convenient requiring more time and new skills. Cultural pressures were significant with many believing that a meal is not complete without meat – especially if they are cooking for friends and family. Finally, taste is crucial with our heritage linked closely to the smell and texture of meat eating.


Environmental issues were less of a driver. Many people were aware of animal welfare issues but didn’t feel inclined to explore too closely. Very much a case of what you don’t know won’t harm you. People wanted to eat responsibly and were highly reliant on labels to guide them in their decisions.

With this plethora of drivers linking our diets so intrinsically to meat, any change campaign has to be thoughtfully constructed engaging people in debate, discussion and reflection rather than hitting them over the head with a one dimensional message. ‘Eat less meat to fight climate change’ is definitely not the way to go and is certain to lead to a vitriolic response from sections of society.

The initial research does suggest some opportunities for engaging in the discussion. Change seems to come about either through the influence of a friend or family member or when linked to health – particularly if there has been a health scare.

Hubbub will be using this research to start building activities that explore protein and diets. These activities will be highly conversational, will target specific audiences and will help people make more informed dietary choices. Hopefully we can start raising the issue of diet and climate without getting a kicking from all sides.

Let's have a meaty debate

We're seeking organisations who are willing to participate in a ‘coalition of the willing’ for this topic, where we will collaborate to test ideas, learn from experience and share results. If you're interested, get in touch and let's talk meaty issues

Read the research findings