Meat Alternatives Decline
There was a report in the Daily Telegraph last week that sales of meat alternatives, such as veggie burgers, are falling fast. On global stock markets, investment in ‘food tech’ rivalled that of the dot com boom and now faces a similar fate. The CEO of Kellogg’s spoke of ‘irrational exuberance’ as he announced withdrawal from the sector. In the UK, market leader Beyond Meat’s share price has fallen by 82% whilst supermarkets have cut back on shelf space for vegetarian products.
Calls for Pesticide Reduction
The RSPB has called for stringent new targets to reduce pesticide use in UK crop production in a report published last week. “The combination of lack of research, inadequate risk assessment and weak regulation has created a toxic situation where an unchecked cocktail of different chemicals are regularly applied across our countryside.” This comes at a time when the European Commission has proposed a nature restoration directive to restore the 80% of European habitats that are in a poor ecological state. This includes a target to halve pesticide us by 2030.
Atlantic Salmon Decline
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust has reported that the number of Atlantic salmon returning to the river Frome in Dorset last year was down almost 10% on its 10-year average. This matches reports from Scotland and Norway where 2021 annual salmon catches were the lowest on record. The decline is long term and becoming critical. The reason for loss at sea is not entirely clear but overfishing and climate change are major factors, whilst fish farming is a serious threat on Scotland’s west coast.
Gene Editing Closer
The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill is progressing through Parliament, reaching its Committee stage last week, as farm leaders and scientists warn of the consequences for British agriculture if gene editing is not allowed. The NFU has said that, as the EU is taking similar hesitant steps, there would be no impact on trade.