Is The Climatarian Diet The Next Big Thing In Nutrition?

LONDON, United Kingdom — Digital nutrition app Lifesum is shining a light on the value of a Climatarian diet, as consumer interest in the trend continues to rise.

The diet, which focuses on reducing the carbon footprint with plant-based, locally sourced produce, can improve health and save the planet by reducing CO2 by 1.5 tonnes annually. And according to Lifesum, not only does a Climatarian diet help the planet but it can also improve personal health by preventing and even reversing disease. 

“Meat, especially highly processed meat, has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders and certain cancers,” explained Lifesum’s Dr Alona Pulde.

“A Climatarian diet focused on whole plant-based foods, has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and obesity, while increasing overall vitality, mental health and longevity. Some people even notice their skin clears of blemishes or acne – or just looks healthier and younger,” she added.

To support consumers in making the switch to a Climatarian diet, Lifesum has introduced a free 7-day beginners meal plan which it hopes can shine a light on the best Climatarian foods to make a diet more sustainable and reduce carbon emissions — many of which revolve around common foods already found in lots of peoples’ homes.

With a growing number of consumers becoming more aware of the impact of the everyday choices they’re making, by not only tapping into the trend but making it easier for their customers to become more sustainable, brands like Lifesum are positioning themselves at the forefront of this step change. And in doing so, are finding ways to engage new demographics that may not have connected with their products or services before.

When it comes to challenges such as fighting climate change, the vast majority of consumers believe businesses need to be doing their part (86%) and putting people and the planet ahead of profits (82%). Additionally, nearly 9 in 10 (88%) believe sustainability should be standard practice for brands, as highlighted in a recent report by Wunderman Thompson.

However,  while nearly all respondents (94%) said they are trying to live sustainably, they face several barriers in doing so. This is where the opportunity exists for brands — as we explore in our 2022 Consumer Wellness Trends Report within the trend: Reduce, Regenerate & Reset.

Is The Climatarian Diet The Next Big Thing In Nutrition?
Image: Lifesum

Read More: Welltodo’s 2022 Consumer Wellness Trends Report

Like Lifesum, US salad chain Just Salad has also recognised the benefits of making it easier for consumers to make more mindful choices. Last year it started carbon labelling its menu to show the estimated carbon footprint of every item on its menu and highlight climate-smart menu options.

“We believe that the next step in fighting the climate crisis is transparency and traceability,” explained the brand in a company statement.

That’s why, “next to every item on our menu, you’ll see its estimated greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the environmental impact of growing, producing, and transporting that item to your plate. We call it a Carbon Label. It’s like a nutrition label, but for the planet.”

Elsewhere, brands including Huel, Oatly and Quorn are also employing a similar approach.

“Changing what we eat is the simplest and largest impact we can have on both the planet and our bodies,” Huel CEO James McMaster told Welltodo last year.

“But the food industry needs to make it simple for consumers to make those decisions, which is why we are urging all brands to include the carbon emissions associated with their products on all packaging within the next two years,” he added.

Read More: Huel & Other Wellness Brands Join Push Towards Carbon Labelling

Research from Carbon Trust reveals that two-thirds of consumers in Europe already support carbon labelling of products, while two-thirds (64 per cent) of consumers in all countries say they are more likely to think positively about a brand that can demonstrate it has lowered the carbon footprint of its products.

“This research aligns with the growth in corporate demand for product carbon footprinting and labelling that we have witnessed over the past year. We know that companies have much to gain by quantifying the carbon footprints of their products and services, a process that gives insight into where they can create efficiencies,” added Hugh Jones, Managing Director, Advisory, the Carbon Trust.

“The sustained and high levels of consumer support for carbon labelling suggests that passing this information on to increasingly well-informed and climate-conscious consumers can also enhance a company’s reputation and market share,” he shared.

But for a mainstream shift to take place, brands, supermarkets and governments need to work together to make it even easier for consumers to adapt their behaviours. 

If achieved, climate-friendly eating has the potential to shape the future landscape of the food and beverage industry in a huge way.