Giki’s new Plant based badge is here by popular demand. It is one of the most frequent requests we get from the Giki community  and if you are looking for ways to cut your environmental impact in 2020, replacing some or all of the meat in your diet with plant based food is an excellent way to start. Over 23,000 products out of the 280,000 in our database get the plant based badge in the Giki app, so there is a decent choice now in UK supermarkets if you want to go plant based.

Why Now?

There is a growing trend among UK consumers to eat more plants and less meat, fish and animal products. For some this involves moving to a vegan diet although for many it entails simply a shift to more plant based foods and less meat. This shift has created a huge increase in plant based offerings in the supermarket covering everything from plant based milks to ready meals as well as a timely reminder about the benefits of the simple fruit and vegetable aisles. Our aim with the plant based badge is to help navigate this ever growing selection with a simple to understand badge which includes both processed foods which are plant based but also unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains.

Why Plant Based?

Plastic-free fruit and veg
Vegetables at the market
People’s motivation for moving to more plant based diets are varied but animals, health and the environment are most commonly cited. In terms of the environment the sustainability benefits are clear.
  • A diet which is mainly plant based reduces carbon emissions by around 40% compared to a typical UK diet as well as using less land and less water. This is partly because a high proportion of the carbon emissions from a typical UK diet come from meat, especially beef and lamb.
  • It is also because land for animals and animal feed accounts for 77% of all agricultural land but just 18% of the calories.
In terms of health the benefits of a fully plant based diet are still much debated but the foundations of a healthy diet have been clearly laid out by the World Health Organisation for many years.  The WHO’s guidelines suggest that a healthy diet should include fruit, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils and beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. oats, wheat and brown rice) as well as at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day. In short a diet high in plant based products. Guidance from the NHS is also helpful in this area highlighting the need for good planning to get all the nutrients you need.

How does the badge work?

For the badge itself a green badge is awarded to products which meet at least one of our two criteria.

Criteria 1: Fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses are automatically awarded the badge based on their category (i.e. all of these products come from plants!). However, we have also added an ingredient checker which looks for animal products just in case they are still found in some products. It should always be noted that with so many products, ingredient names and data quality issues that there is always a risk that some animal products or derivatives are missed. As a result users should always read the ingredients list if there are particular ingredients that they are choosing to avoid.

Criteria 2: For other foods, of which processed food makes up a large component, we award the plant based badge to any product which is classified as suitable for vegans by the manufacturer or which had been independently certified. In particular we look for certification by the Vegan Society. A small number of drinks, predominantly tea and coffee, are also covered.

You can read more about our recent app updates here. 

You can use the plant based badge to help support a more sustainable, animal friendly diet. Plant based foods generally have lower carbon emissions, use less land and less water and are kinder to animals.

Download the UK Giki app now!