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20 March 2018

New report from WWF, launched ahead of Earth Hour, also finds a cheese ploughman’s contributes more to climate change than chicken tikka masala


LONDON, UK: The UK’s best-loved dishes as we know them could be under threat as soon as 2050 as a direct result of climate change, according to a new report released today by WWF. Research commissioned for Earth Hour, the world’s largest event to protect the planet, found that favourites including chicken tikka masala, fish and chips, the cheese ploughman’s and lamb cawl (Welsh lamb stew) may taste different, need substitute ingredients and cost more in future, as climate change could threaten the supply of the key ingredients required to make up these dishes.


The report showed that by 2050, climate change could cause:

  • Chicken tikka masala:
    • Chickens to be fed on alternative feeds such as insects and algae
    • Rice prices to rise by a third
    • Onion shortages caused by an increase in diseases
    • Higher prices for tomatoes due to extreme rainfall and heatwaves

· Fish and chips:

    • Substitutions of anchovies for cod, as warmer oceans cause those species to displace cod populations
    •  Price spikes in lemons and potatoes due to droughts

· Cheese ploughman’s:

    • Cheese production affected due to heat stress on dairy herds and resulting impact on milk production
    • Lower quality wheat due to water shortages and soil loss
    •  Softer and sweeter apples due to warmer weather conditions

· Lamb cawl (Welsh lamb stew):

    • Frequent flooding risks sheep welfare and could affect food production
    • Poor potato crops due to infestations
    • Weather fluctuations add volatility for dairy farmers, from feed sourcing to welfare conditions


The report also calculated the environmental costs of these dishes today, given that around 20% of the UK’s greenhouse emissions are attributed to food production. The cheese ploughman’s was revealed to contribute more to climate change than the fish and chips or chicken tikka masala. In fact, the simple cheese, pickle and bread dish created 2.6kg CO2e in greenhouse gas emissions to produce, the equivalent of charging a smartphone 316 times, boiling a kettle 113 times or keeping an LED lightbulb switched on for 28 whole days.





One of these dishes is equivalent to:







Number of 500ml PET plastic bottles





Days of LED lightbulb being switched on





Times boiling the kettle for one cup of tea





Miles driving in average UK car





Number of full charges for a smartphone






Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Energy and Climate at WWF commented: “The threat to these classic dishes just shows that climate change could impact every aspect of our lives in future if we don’t act now. That’s why this Earth Hour we want people to eat more sustainably. That doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan or vegetarian – it means each of us cutting back on the amount of fish, meat and dairy we eat. If each of us takes a small action, together we can combat climate change and future-proof our best-loved dishes.”


This Earth Hour, taking place at 8:30pm on Saturday 24 March, WWF is asking the British public to make a #PromiseForThePlanet, a pledge to make one change in their own lives to reduce their environmental footprint. The promises include reducing the amount of meat we eat, refusing plastic cutlery and carrying a reusable coffee cup. The promises have been chosen as examples of small behaviour changes people can make that collectively will have a big impact.


To help the UK public eat more sustainably, WWF is supporting the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s One Planet Plate initiative. From the day of Earth Hour, a thousand restaurants across the UK will serve up their own take on a sustainable meal, with the aim of raising awareness of the issues our planet is facing, and demonstrating how varied and delicious a sustainable meal can be. Chefs involved include Skye Gyngell, Tom Hunt and Raymond Blanc OBE, and high street restaurants including Wahaca, Carluccio’s and Jamie’s Italian.


For more information and to make your #PromiseForThePlanet, visit


Join the event on Facebook and be part of the conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtags #EarthHourUK, #PromiseForThePlanet and #ConnectToEarth and our handle, @wwf_uk.



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