Meat, wellbeing and the protein problem

To recap my personal leadership challenge is to work with the charity Hubbub to help promote sustainable lifestyles in fun and playful ways. We concentrate on things people are passionate about such as fashion, food, homes and neighbourhoods.

Most recently we’ve been developing a campaign to reduce meat consumption and promote plant based sources of protein.  Meat and dairy consumption is predicted to double by 2050 and this isn’t sustainable.  Our Meat Your Match campaign challenged male gym users to replace half of their animal based protein with plant based protein over a period of 2 months. It was provocatively aimed at this audience as research shows that 60 % of men exceed recommended levels of red meat intake and gym users in particular have become increasingly conscious of the ‘need’ to eat lots of meat protein. The campaign aimed to challenge their preconceptions that to get lots of protein you had to consume lots of meat and dairy. Participants received bespoke meal plans, wearable technologies, and personal support. Preliminary results found that the diets were hugely beneficial to the participants’ health and wellbeing, with people sleeping better and feeling less fatigued. They also said they were far more likely to order a vegetable based dish when eating out.

We now aim to expand this campaign to a larger, more mainstream cohort.  I’ve pitched the idea to my employer to see if they can get involved.  I didn’t get off to the best start as it turns out the lady I spoke to is the daughter of a livestock farmer who loves meat.  However, after further discussions she became interested in the wellbeing elements of the concept and so we are altering our approach to position it more as a wellbeing campaign.  This is a valuable lesson as wellbeing is becoming increasingly important across many businesses and so it’s an angle that may well resonate better with a business audience. We’ll be pitching it formally in the next few weeks and I’ll report back on progress in my next blog. Wish me luck.


3 thoughts on “Meat, wellbeing and the protein problem”

  1. This is fabulous news ! Well done on identifying a problem and then coming up with a sustainable solution. I would love to have a look at the materials once available to see if we could help you increase the message distribution. Please do keep us updated on your results and Good Luck !


  2. Great subject. And really a vital one for the future.
    Eating meat and masculinity is something I have never understood. At least where I live there is this crazy connection in peoples mind that eating meat makes you stronger and being vegan is a sign of weakness.

    If we are going to increase our food production here on Earth for the next 30 decades by 50-70%, to accommodate for the rising population we have to find a new source of protein, not coming from beef, pork, and chicken production. At least not without trashing the planet in the way.

    But how it will be done is an exciting question. It will take a lot of innovation, automation, creativity and cooperation and last but not least changes in peoples habits to reach this.


  3. Thanks for the interesting post, and for taking this approach to the challenge. Hubbub sounds like a great initiative – I will check it out. I also just read James Martin’s post (CocoOps) and he is considering how to create a game to get collaboration around sustainability and climate change. There’s a definite theme in many of our classmates’ posts about trying to make sustainability fun, funny, engaging and achievable. This all feels so encouraging, that us converted are starting to realise the limitations of preaching.

    It’s so interesting to hear of the very real limitation you encountered in the woman being part of a meat farming family. This is fascinating both because we need to figure out our messaging for the meat industry, bearing in mind the strong lobby that comes from that industry, particularly in the US. But also because farmers are inherently especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. All the best with your continued actions, I look forward to hearing how it goes!


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