cooking vegetables

A flexitarian future

Sir, Joanna Blythman’s call for a more nuanced discussion than the simplistic and divisive message that ‘all meat is bad/all plants are good’ (Second Opinion, 22 April, p23) is welcome. She is right to highlight the importance of ‘better’ meat and dairy production that is naturally reared, pasture fed, organic - not the ‘cheap’ industrially produced livestock products that come at such a cost to animal welfare and the environment. But this doesn’t mean that the tide is turning back in favour of animal products.

The Eating Better alliance brings together over 50 national organisations on this agenda. We encourage people to shift to flexitarian eating - choosing better meat and dairy foods, but fewer of them, while enjoying more (sustainably produced) plant-based foods that are good for our health and the health of the planet. Such ‘sustainable diets’ are now globally recognised as essential for feeding the future world - including the UK.

Earlier this year Kantar Worldpanel reported to the NFU that 41% of meat eaters are flexitarians. A sizeable market for food producers to serve better.

Sue Dibb, coordinator, the Eating Better alliance

The M&S factor online

Sir, About time! (‘M&S set to trial online food delivery service,’, 28 April). Remember, however, that M&S doesn’t have the best track record in entering online markets - with its clothing and GM at launch being clunky and uninspiring. Even after being reworked, the online offering still doesn’t feel like it’s the most customer-centric model. But sales continue to grow.

The challenge for M&S now is not the when but the how: how can they do this in a way that makes a virtue of the things that make their food different? They’ll need to convey quality, innovation and perfect product delivery.

Catherine Shuttleworth, via

Flexibility both ways

Sir, I turned down a senior supply chain job because the business would not allow home working (only “when required for good reason”) (‘Strip the taboo from home working,’ 22 April, p22). Consumers expect retailers to be more flexible and agile; retailers pass this on to suppliers. Now I’m challenging my employer to be the same for me, flexible and agile, and if they can’t, I’ll go where they can.

Martin Daine via