Eating Better member organisation Feedback has just published their Meat and Climate Supermarket Scorecard for 2021, ranking the top ten UK retailers on their work to address the climate crisis by reducing the environmental impact of the meat and dairy they sell. Find out how the supermarkets scored here.
Using a slate of 40 indicators covering corporate policy and in-store practice or food environments, Feedback found that, across the board, from Iceland to Waitrose, retailers are failing to consistently apply their climate commitments to the way they sell food to customers both in their corporate policies and in-store practices.
While corporate policies have improved since the last time Feedback assessed retailers in 2019, these are largely not being applied to the way retailers choose to market and sell meat and dairy, with a few exceptions. With the goal of all retailers committing to ambitious targets to decarbonise their value chains by selling less meat and dairy, the scorecard focused on measurement of the climate footprint of the food supermarkets sell, and action in store to make less and better meat choices easy and accessible.
At a corporate level, most supermarkets are not yet rigorously measuring or reporting on the climate impact of the food they sell, including meat and dairy, preventing them from taking real responsibility to act on their climate and nature burden. There is also very little transparency on how much meat and dairy retailers sell and what the climate impact of this is.
At store level, despite previous public backlash against retailers for using misleading labels on meat products, Feedback found some retailers are continuing to use meaningless meat labels like ‘Trusted Farms’ or ‘fake farm’ names to sell their products, a practice in direct contradiction with their statements on encouraging healthy and sustainable purchasing. All retailers continue to use routine promotions on meat products, above and beyond ‘yellow label’ promotions which aim to avoid waste.
Simon Billing, Executive Director at Eating Better said:
“Feedback’s scorecard shows retailers are still focused on boosting meat sales, despite all setting net zero targets and pledging to help us eat healthier and more sustainably. Making it easier for shoppers to buy more meat and dairy - more than they need, or probably want - is not the way forward for our health, or that of the planet.”
People trust retailers to ensure that the products they sell won't hurt the planet - including the meat and dairy they sell. Meat and dairy production directly contribute to the climate crisis and to deforestation and the loss of natural wonders like the Brazilian rainforest. To meet these challenges the UK must halve its meat and dairy consumption by 50% and ensure that the meat that is eaten is produced in ways that cause less environmental damage. UK supermarkets control over 90% of the UK groceries market share and for many people, going to the supermarket is the only option for buying food. It’s up to supermarkets to address the climate impact of the food they sell and help shoppers transition to eating less meat and dairy.
Feedback is awarding some of the worst offenders on their Scorecard a series of ‘Golden Turnip’ awards for the most lacklustre action to address their climate responsibilities when it comes to meat and dairy – find out more here.
 Clark, M. A. et al. Global food system emissions could preclude achieving the 1.5° and 2°C climate change targets. Science 370, 705–708 (2020).
 Ritchie, H. Cutting down forests: what are the drivers of deforestation? Our World in Data.
 Feedback. 2021. Meating the Challenge: Why supermarkets must urgently cut their meat and dairy sales. https://feedbackglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Feedback_MarketBrief_WhySupermarketsMustUrgentlyCutMeatAndDairySales_Jan2021.pdf
 Kantar World Panel. Grocery Market Share - Great Britain. https://www.kantarworldpanel.com/grocery-market-share/greatbritain/snapshot(2021).