Thinking of cutting dairy for the sake of the planet? Read this first, then make up your mind (Picture: Getty Images)
Did you realise just how much goes on behind the scenes before your dairy ends up in a glass, or as part of your meal?
Perhaps it’s time to take a deeper look at how some corners of the industry are leading the way in more sustainable farming in an effort to ensure dairy remains a nutritious element of our diet.
Whether you’re being swayed by Veganuary or pressured into flexitarianism – hey, no shame in mixing things up from time to time – you’re not alone, with a new survey from dairy cooperative Arla through One Poll* estimating 28million people in the UK feel social pressure to make critical diet choices.
And dairy – we’re talking your classic diet staples of milk, yogurt, and cheese – is what many are ditching from their diets.
But after nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said that they would make a considerable change to their diets based on information they’d seen on social media, Arla is here to bring some balance back to the board.
According to the One Poll consumer survey, commissioned in March, the growing pressure to eat more ‘sustainably’ has left 41% of people feeling confused about what exactly makes a sustainable diet. Heck, nearly half of those surveyed even admitted to feeling ashamed to order dairy in public in front of others, with 21% admitting to cutting out the food group entirely.
When it comes to eating sustainably, we cannot just think about the planet in isolation. We should also consider our nutritional health, and eating food that is nutrient-dense, that’s also being made in a way that reduces our impact on the world around us.
Still it really seems right now we’re a nation split: to cow, or not to cow.
Arla is working hard to combat emissions from these pals (Picture: Getty Images)
Seeing as there’s so much conversation around making more sustainable choices, and rightly so, in turn, there are so many nutrition trends and products around that you can’t be blamed for making snap decisions when it comes to your diet sometimes. But it does mean we’re at risk of cutting out things that are actually good for us and cancelling food groups, when this ‘all or nothing’ attitude is not always necessary.
In a bid to combat this, Arla’s 2,100 UK farmers aim to provide so much more than nutritious dairy products, with a push towards more sustainable farming practices to show you need not involve cutting out dairy if you don’t have to.
As a nation, how about we look at the full life cycle of food production before making such drastic decisions.
There’s no denying the production of milk can have an effect on the planet – but Arla’s farmer owners are working to find new and innovative ways to reduce their environmental impact.
They are already some of the most climate mindful farmers in the world, with a target of achieving carbon net zero by 2050. No bull (literally and metaphorically).
They’ve been taking part in a programme called Climate Checks: an individual carbon footprint offered to every Arla farmer and independently verified by an external consultant.
Data through this initiative will help Arla meet its science-based targets of a 30% reduction in emissions per kilogram of milk by 2030, as well as the all-important carbon net zero within the next 30 years. Revolutionising the industry has never been more timely.
Packed with important nutrients, milk is a source of calcium, protein, vitamin B2 and B12. From a splash in your tea or coffee in the morning to a pour over cereal, or adding to cooking sauces (and let’s not forget a delectable slice of cheese on a crumbly cracker, right?) we can consume our dairy in a myriad of manners.
But, as Debbie Wilkins, Arla Farmer in Gloucestershire concedes ‘dairy can be easily misunderstood’ but adds farmers aim to not only act ‘as beacons of local communities’ but also ‘provide quality, natural and affordable nutrition to the nation.’
In saying that, Wilkins adds, while ‘food production creates emissions…it is important to consider the nutritional value it has as well as what we can to do create a balance, so we give back what we take from nature.’
The next decade will be a defining one in the health of our planet, and in the availability of natural and affordable food.
So perhaps 2022 is time to think before we throw out the cow with the milk.
*OnePoll survey conducted on behalf of Arla Foods March 2022.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.