When it comes to saving the planet, UK consumers would rather take fewer foreign holidays than cut down on cheeseburgers, ­according to new research.

Only 21% of respondents to a YouGov survey carriedout for Eblex and Bpex said that they would be willing to cut down on their meat consumption to reduce their CO2 emissions.

This compares with 23% who were willing to reduce the number of overseas holidays they took, while 82% were prepared to recycle more and 80% were willing to use lower-energy light bulbs.

The research indicated most consumers wanted to do their bit but not if it meant making financial or personal sacrifices, said Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board acting chief executive Richard Lowe. "The impact of meat consumption on global warming is off the radar for most."

Instead, consumers prioritised other considerations when buying meat, such as welfare, and whether it was British, he said.

The figures will be bad news for the vegetarian organisations and environmental groups that are hoping to persuade shoppers to give up meat.

However, the percentage of respondents who said they would reduce their meat consumption was "not wholly disheartening", insisted campaign manager for the Meat Free Mondays campaign Iris Andrews.

"The notion of a connection between people's diet and climate change is something consumers are only just beginning to get their heads around."

Livestock was responsible for around a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, she claimed.

The survey also revealed that only 11% felt that the climate change debate had influenced the way they purchased meat.

Some 31% said they were not concerned about CO2 emissions from meat consumption, although 32% agreed that on-pack carbon footprint labelling would sway their opinion.

The poll was carried out last month among 2,000 people online.

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Hot Topic: Consumers won't cut down on cheseburgers to save the planet (24 April 2010)