Henry Dimbleby

Former government health tsar Henry Dimbleby is to launch a major new campaign to try to persuade Brits to eat less meat, after stepping down from his government role last week.

The National Food Strategy author told The Grocer he has entered into a partnership with advertising giant M&C Saatchi on a “big piece of work”, which would involve communicating to consumers the benefit of plant-based foods to the planet and their health.

Dimbleby quit his role as a non-executive at Defra last week, slamming the government’s backtracks on public health and accusing ministers of coming up with a “piecemeal so-called strategy” on the back of his proposals.

Dimbleby called for supermarkets and suppliers to get behind plans for a 30% reduction in meat consumption over the next decade, although his proposals stopped short of a meat tax, which he admits considering as part of his proposals.

In his new book, titled Ravenous, Dimbleby describes the threat to the environment posed by emissions from a farming strategy “over-reliant” on meat production as more of a threat to the world than the war in Ukraine.

“The biggest thing, as I say in the book, is about eating less meat,” he told The Grocer.

“I’m working on a big campaign with M&C Saatchi, who are doing pro bono thinking about how industry, in a positive way, can help people eat less meat to free up land.”

Dimbleby said rather than criticise the industry, the new campaign would look to highlight the positive work in the industry in growing meat-free options.

“There is amazing innovation going on,” he said. “When it comes to the environment, I am actually quite bullish about what’s been going on in the industry.”