By Tessa Tricks and Stine Wilhelmsen, Hubbub

Meat. Now there’s a loaded word. Symbolically potent and culturally sensitive, meat and its many meanings are integral to the future of our food. Many of us know that the environmental hoof print of our meat supplies drastically outweigh radishes and runner beans, and yet most Brits relish a meaty feast, especially when eating out, finds recent research from sustainability charity Hubbub.

This summer the Hubbub food team partnered with the University of Southampton and an East London community to explore the protein pressures shaping individual’s dietary choices. The research showed that triggers for dietary change are as broad as a bean, ranging from health scares to financial circumstances, moving house, changing partner or stumbling upon new ingredients.

Pressures preventing change proved equally complex, ranging from lack of skills in preparing plant-based foods, absence of non-meat based alternatives, comfort of familiar tastes, and fear of offending family or friends. Many people reported saving eating meat for eating out feeling that professionals would be better equipped to prepare, and “sustainably source” meat. Could the industry also be best placed to inspire with the possibilities of plant-based protein?

Joining forces with the likes of LEON and Food Cycle, the charity gathered meat light versions of Britain’s favourite dinner dishes. The Recipe Booklet was launched at a Somerset House panel discussion on the role of the creative industry in engaging the public with protein choices. Kirsty Saddler, Brand and Marketing Director at LEON, offered their approach to showcasing the power of plants.

Beyond bringing people together to share mealworm dumplings, the event confirmed the need for cross-sector collaboration found in the research. Hubbub are offering the opportunity to join a Coalition of the Willing set to engage a mainstream audience with the issue.  We’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in joining us. Get in touch for further details.

Another important takeaway is that messaging around meat has to be upbeat, positive and target a specific audience. Building on these learnings, Hubbub will be offering a range of highly targeted campaigns in 2017, beginning with Men and Meat. To inform this campaign, we are looking for chefs, food professionals, and bacon-loving blokes to join a Men & Meat focus group.  Keen to join us around the table? Drop us an email.