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Climate-conscious Western youth eat more meat than older G7

Although climate change is for young people, it is the subject of various opinion polls It is a fundamental issueAnd, in recent years, the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, which favored foods that produce low-carbon foods and forbids meat in whole or in part, has become increasingly popular in the Western world. analyzing In the United States and the United Kingdom, young people still consume more meat than older people.


As we wrote about this in more detail on the G7 several times before, the easiest way to combat climate change is to change our diet. For example, by eating less meat, because according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), animal husbandry alone is responsible for 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas production.

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As shown in the figure below, meat, including beef (and lamb), has the largest environmental impact in terms of consuming one gram of protein, while vegetarian ingredients are the least.

One According to the survey In the United States, 93% of the 18-23 age group say they strive to eat sustainably while keeping environmental considerations in mind. A study of the age group 16-25 in the United Kingdom a study It was found that the proportion of vegetarians and vegetarians was significantly higher in this age group than in the older age groups.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Based on Between 1999 and 2016, the amount of cold meat consumed in the 20-34 age group did not change. At the same time, preferences changed within the total meat consumption, especially the increase in poultry consumption to the detriment of red meat. This is beneficial from a climate protection standpoint, but not as much as if it is switched from meat to plant foods.

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A similar result was obtained in a British study The survey Also, between 2008 and 2012, the 19-30 age group consumed less red meat than the 46-60 age group, but more than those over 65. WRI found from the same database, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), that this trend has continued more recently, in 2016 and 2017.

Moreover, there is no alternative in the UK in the UK: red meat consumption was similar in proportions among those under the age of 34 compared to other age groups, while the young ate more chicken and turkey than the elderly. Additionally, Canadians and Mexicans are pointing in the same direction, according to the World Resources Institute data he is.

Data from Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest department store chain, shows that while overall meat and fish turnover decreased between 2017 and 2020, the 18-24 age group was the only one to see an increase in consumption in this category. In the overall consumption category, the increase in sales was 32 percent, and within that, the volume of sales of the most dangerous greenhouse-gas meat, which is beef, increased by 35 percent.

According to the WRI analysis, all of this indicates that young people’s interest in sustainable nutrition is not necessarily reflected in consumer decisions. Therefore, stronger commitment will be needed that goes beyond the consumer as well as at the business and organizational levels to direct people in a more sustainable direction when deciding what type of food to buy.

But what about the same in Hungary? Unfortunately, to our knowledge, no survey has been conducted on whether young Hungarians take climate protection aspects into account in their diet. At the same time, meat consumption trends are measured by age by the Central Statistical Office (CSO).

Consequently, it appears to be roughly the opposite at home compared to the western countries examined by the World Resources Institute.

According to CBS data, between 2015 and 2018, annual per capita consumption of meat increased in all age groups, and the age group over 65 consumed more meat than those under the age of 25.

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It is also interesting to note that while in the United Kingdom the consumption of red meat in each age group was roughly the same on an annual basis, while the consumption of poultry decreased in proportion to age, this distribution in Hungary looks more like the elderly. Going, the consumption of all types of meat increases.

The change in consumption of different meats between 2015 and 2019 does not show the trend in Hungary identified by the WRI analysis in the case of the USA and the UK.

As can be seen from the figure, there was only a significant decrease in pork consumption among the youth, in addition to the data showing an increase in all age groups and all groups. It is true that beef consumption increased less among those under the age of 25, but the growth of chicken meat, for example, was broadly similar across all ages. From a climate protection point of view, however, based on Hungarian data, it is alarming that the consumption of beef and veal has increased much more than poultry and pork at all ages.

As previously reported by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Common search Hungary’s population was in the highest 20-30 percent globally in 2014, and since higher income levels are associated with higher global emissions, so does the impact of the Hungarian population on the environment, such as their diet.

Related articlesRelated articlesThe wealthy could do the most against climate change, including many HungariansThe world’s top 10 percent would have to reduce their emissions by a tenth a year to stay within the climate target of 1.5 degrees.

It is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the relationship between income level and the carbon footprint of meat consumption in Hungary based on data from civil society organizations, as there are many categories (not shown in the figure below) in the Census Bureau’s survey of red and white meat, such as “other butchers”. , Or in the “salami, dry sausage, and ham” category.

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There is a clear correlation between higher income levels and higher levels of beef consumption, which is the worst from a climate protection standpoint, and fish that is considered moderate in terms of climate protection.

Related articlesRelated articlesAsk your doctor before listening to the steering wheel in the kitchenBased on nutritional and health data, it is unnecessary, and not a good trend due to environmental considerations, but even Hungary’s massive series of campaigns to encourage meat consumption go against international trends.

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