Climatarian, Plant-based, and Locavore:
Diets that Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Popular diets can help you reduce your carbon footprint. But with so many diet terms these days, like climatarian, plant-based, and flexitarian, it can be a little confusing to know what they mean or where to look for recipe inspiration. We've broken these diet definitions down for you here.
 
Head to the definitions below to find out what each diet term means, how they can help you reduce your carbon footprint, and for ideas of what to cook.

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What is a climatarian diet?

 

Definition of climatarian:
a person who chooses what to eat according to what is least harmful to the environment.

A climatarian is someone who eats meat, dairy, eggs and vegetables, but carefully chooses ingredients to reduce their impact on the environment. Climatarians may also be referred to as climavores.

 

When climatarians eat meat, they choose meat with a lower COe impact. That’s meat like chicken and pork, instead of beef. They may also choose meat from farms that use regenerative agricultural techniques.

 

Climatarians also choose fish and seafood from more sustainable sources, like those from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries.  

 

When it comes to fruit and veg, climatarians eat seasonal ingredients that don't require artificial heating – heating which produces CO as a byproduct. Climatarians also avoid produce imported by aeroplanes, for example, avocados flown from Central and South America.

The climatarian diet also involves avoiding food waste, eating local food, and minimising non-recyclable or non-reusable food packaging.


How does a climatarian diet help the climate?

 

A climatarian diet reduces carbon footprint by swapping ingredients that produce fewer greenhouse gases in their lifecycle. This prevents the greenhouse gas effect in the atmosphere, which causes global warming and climate change. 

 

What are the benefits of a climatarian diet?

 

  • Accessible way to reduce dietary climate impact for people health conditions or allergies that would face significant restriction with other diets

  • Climatarianism is a great way to start building more sustainable food habits without significant lifestyle changes

  • Climatarians are often inspired to find and support passionate producers in your local area

Climatarian recipe inspiration

This Zero Waste Celery & Potato soup is perfect for using leftover celery and reducing food waste. Soy milk makes this creamy and keeps the CO₂ emissions low, too.

zero waste celery and potato soup climatarian recipe
 

What is a flexitarian diet?

 

Definition of flexitarian:
a person who eats mainly vegetarian food but eats meat occasionally.

A flexitarian is someone who generally eats vegan or vegetarian meals but occasionally eats meat.

 

Flexitarians might have a “cheat” meal now and then. For example, flexitarians might cook meat-free dishes at home, but choose meat or fish when dining out at restaurants.

 

Flexitarian combines the words “flexible” and “vegetarian” and is sometimes referred to as semi-vegetarian.

 

Flexitarians may also eat food from other animal sources, like eggs, dairy milk, cheese, butter and honey.


How does a flexitarian diet help the climate?

 

Eating a flexitarian diet can reduce the carbon footprint of your diet by 49%. This is assuming that a flexitarian has one meal containing meat, per week. We have also assumed that around half of their meals contain dairy products, with a combination of vegan and vegetarian meals.

 

What are the benefits of a flexitarian diet?

 

  • Flexitarians significantly reduce their dietary carbon footprint

  • May feel less restricted than by following a strictly vegan or vegetarian diet

  • Can enjoy the health benefits of plant-based eating

Flexitarian recipe inspiration

These delicious BBQ Tempeh Lettuce wraps are a foodie love letter to sensational Asian cuisine. Made with tempeh, these wraps produce 97.5% less CO₂e than BBQ'd beef.

Asian BBQ tempeh lettuce wrap flexitarian recipe
 

What is a locavore diet?

 

Definition of locavore:

a person who only eats food grown or produced in their local area

A locavore is someone who mostly eats food produced in their local area. A locavore will choose meat, fish and produce from their local area.

 

Locavores tend to eat seasonally and may even grow their own fruit and vegetables. Locavore combines the words “local” and “omnivore”.

 

Locavores generally like their food to come from close to their home. This could be up to 100 miles for some people. The Pig Hotel in Devon is a great example of a hotel with a locavore approach: growing fruit and vegetables in their own garden, and sourcing meat, seafood and other produce from a 25-mile radius of their hotel and restaurant.


How does a locavore diet help the climate?

 

Locavores reduce food miles, ie. the distance your food has travelled to get to your kitchen.

 

Transport is a contributor to food’s greenhouse gas emissions. Looking at lifecycle assessments, we see that transport accounts for less than 10% of COemissions from producing food.

 

This figure will be higher for ingredients transported by aeroplane or from the other side of the world. By reducing food miles, we reduce the amount of fuel needed and the COe produced in our food systems.

 

What are the benefits of a locavore diet?

 

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transporting food, leading to less climate impact

  • Using the freshest produce from your local area maximises the flavour in your recipes and meals

  • Locavores get maximum benefits from antioxidants and vitamins in fresh produce, which reduce in their effectiveness when produce is stored for longer.

Locavore recipe inspiration

Make the most of tomato and fennel season to the UK! We love to taste these two ingredients in a warm summer soup, that'll transport you to a balmy evening on the Italian Riviera.

tomato and fennel soup locavore recipe
 

What is a pescatarian diet?

 

Definition of pescatarian:
someone who eats fish, but not meat

A pescatarian is someone who eats fish or seafood but doesn’t eat meat or poultry, like chicken and turkey.

 

Most pescatarians also eat eggs and dairy products, like milk and cheese. Pescatarians don’t necessarily eat fish or seafood at every meal and may eat a predominantly vegetarian diet. For this reason, pescatarians can also be called pesco-vegetarians.


How does a pescatarian diet help the climate?

 

Eating a pescatarian diet can reduce the carbon footprint of your diet by 45%. A pescatarian diet produces 3.91kg CO₂e each day, putting it under the threshold of daily dietary 4.09kg CO₂e that the WWF predicts we need to achieve by 2030.

 

The majority of greenhouse gases in a pescatarian diet come from feed used for farmed fish, or fuel used for boats to catch wild fish. Choose Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish from local sources, or bivalves, like clams, mussels and oysters, to reduce your climate impact further with a pescatarian diet.

 

What are the benefits of a pescatarian diet?
 

  • Meat-lovers wanting to reduce their climate impact may find a pescatarian diet curbs meat cravings

  • A pescatarian diet has been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers

  • Pescatarianism can be a great introduction to a vegetarian diet

Pescatarian recipe inspiration

Celebrate winter squash and local kale to make this low carbon, seasonal spaghetti. Leftover bread & hazelnuts bring texture to this italian-inspired dish.

winter squash and kale spaghetti floop
 
 

What is a plant-based diet?

 

Definition of plant-based:

consisting or made completely of plants, or mainly of plants

Someone following a plant-based diet mostly eats food from plants. This includes fruit and vegetables, as well as grains, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds.

 

Those following a plant-based diet could also be used to describe a vegetarian or vegan.

 

So what's the difference between vegan and plant-based? Well, plant-based products aren’t always vegan-friendly. Some plant-based products contain additives from animal sources, like honey, milk powder, or whey. Similarly to flexitarians, those on a plant-based diet don’t necessarily avoid all animal products.

 

“Plant-based” has become a bit of a buzzword over recent years, as meat and dairy alternatives have surged. Historically, there’s been a bit of stigma around the word “vegan”, with the perception of veganism as a restrictive diet.

 

Using the term “plant-based” helps marketers focus on the benefits of a product made from plants, and can feel more appealing to a wider market.


How does a plant-based diet help the climate?

 

A plant-based diet slashes the carbon footprint of your meal by about 50%, similarly to a flexitarian or vegan diet. It also has a number of other environmental benefits such as reducing land use needed for agriculture, preventing soil degradation, and reducing acidification of rivers and oceans.

 

 

What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?
 

  • Enjoy the health benefits of plant-based eating

  • Can still include food from animal sources, like cheese, milk and honey

  • May feel less restricted than by following a strictly vegan or vegetarian diet

Plant-based recipe inspiration

Sweet griddled peaches & tangy, salty feta are a heavenly match in this moreish salad! Our low carbon feta cuts the carbon footprint of this meal by 70% compared to traditional feta.

low carbon vegan feta and peach salad plant-based recipe

What is a reducetarian diet?

 

Definition of reducetarian:

someone who reduces the amount of meat, fish and dairy products they consume without becoming fully vegetarian or vegan.

A reducetarian is someone who eats less meat and dairy products but hasn’t chosen to become fully vegetarian or vegan.

 

Similarly to climatarians, reducetarians still eat meat and animal products. Reducetarians may also be motivated to change their food habits to reduce their environmental impact. Reducetarians can also be known as a “meat reductionist” or a “dairy reductionist”.

 

Reducetarians take part in social movements like Meatless Monday, and programmes like the 5:2 veg diet where participants only eat meat for two days each week. 


How does a reducetarian diet help the climate?

Even cutting out meat twice per week can reduce the carbon footprint of your diet by 13%. Meat and dairy products have higher carbon footprints than plant-based products.

 

Half of the world’s land that’s suitable for living on is used by animal agriculture and has contributed to the deforestation of carbon sinks.  Reducing demand for animal products reduces land use, deforestation, and CO₂e emissions that can lead to global warming.

 

 

What are the benefits of a reducetarian diet?
 

  • An easy way for everyone to participate in reducing climate impact through food

  • Doesn’t eliminate any food groups

  • Can enjoy many of the health benefits of a predominantly plant-based diet, while incorporating some meat, fish and dairy.

Reducetarian recipe inspiration

Pull out all the stops with this takeaway-inspired, low carbon feast! Jackfruit "duck" reduces CO₂ equivalent emissions by 82% compared to duck.

pulled duck jackfruit pancakes reducetarian recipe
 

What is a seasonarian diet?

 

Definition of seasonarian:

someone who sources food seasonally and locally as much as they can
 

A seasonarian is someone who chooses seasonal and local food as often as they can. Seasonarians.co.uk co-founder explains: "It's a mindset of where you have the choice, and where you're able to, you make that choice to buy from the UK or grow your own".

Similarly to climatarians and locavores, seasonarians prioritise local food as it becomes available in season. Seasonarians don't necessarily eliminate any food groups, so may eat meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables from their country or local area.


How does a seasonarian diet help the climate?

Seasonarians reduce their carbon footprint by prioritising food as it becomes naturally in season. This reduces the energy created by artificial growing conditions that are needed for growing food out of season –major contributors to the carbon footprint of some ingredients.

 

Choosing seasonal ingredients often means choosing local ingredients too. Eating local food reduces food miles, ie. the distance your food has travelled to get to your kitchen. 

 

What are the benefits of a seasonarian diet?
 

  • Doesn't eliminate any food groups

  • Seasonarians are often inspired to find and try food from local producers​​

  • Get maximum benefits from antioxidants and vitamins in fresh produce, which reduce in their effectiveness when produce is stored for longer.

Seasonarian recipe inspiration

Dukkah is an exotic blend of nuts and spices originating from Egypt.

We’ve adapted traditional-style dukkah to celebrate ingredients that grow here in the U.K. for a low carbon treat.

Walnut and Caraway Dukkah
 

What is a vegetarian diet?

 

Definition of vegetarian:

a person who does not eat meat for health or religious reasons or because they want to avoid being cruel to animals.

A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat or fish. This includes poultry, like chicken and turkey. A vegetarian may have chosen not to eat meat for health, religious or ethical reasons. Or it may be because they want to reduce their carbon footprint.

 

Vegetarians do eat other foods from animal sources, like eggs, dairy milk, cheese, butter and honey. You might also see this called lacto-ovo or ovo-lacto vegetarianism.


How does a vegetarian diet help the climate?

 

Eating a vegetarian diet almost halves the carbon footprint of your diet, compared to eating meat every day. This is because animal-based products tend to have higher carbon footprints than plant-based products, ranging from 300% to 3000% more emissions when compared to soy, in the form of tofu.

 

 

What are the benefits of a vegetarian diet?
 

Vegetarian recipe inspiration

This sweet and speedy fakeaway is inspired by the classic 'Lemon Chicken'. Our climate-friendly version subs tofu for chicken, which reduces CO₂eq emissions by over 83%!

Lemon Tofu Fakeaway Vegetarian Recipe
 

What is a vegan diet?

 

Definition of vegan:

a person who does not eat or use any animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese or leather.

A vegan is someone who doesn’t eat any animal products, including meat, fish, cheese, milk from cows and goats, eggs, and honey.

 

Someone following a vegan diet also follows a plant-based diet. But vegans specifically exclude all animal products from their diet, too.

 

Vegans may have chosen not to eat for many reasons. This could be for ethical and animal welfare reasons or to reduce their climate and environmental impact. Read more about the differences between a vegan and plant-based diet.


How does a vegan diet help the climate?

 

Eating a vegan diet produces only 2.89kg CO₂e per day, compared to a meat-rich diet producing 7.19kg COe daily. Over a year, this prevents 3,946 car miles worth of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.

 

Meat and dairy account for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Ditching animal products is a sure-fire way to eat low carbon meals.

 

 

What are the benefits of a vegan diet?
 

  • High-impact way to reduce your climate footprint through food

  • Promotes compassion for animals and advocates for animal welfare in our food systems

  • Can enjoy the health benefits of predominantly plant-based eating.

Vegan recipe inspiration

Save almost a kilo of carbon emissions, before you start the day, with this delicious Sumac Scrambled Tofu, wrapped inside a warm pitta. The climate fight begins at breakfast!

sumac scrambled tofu pitta vegan recipe
 

No matter which of these diets you choose, you’re on your way to shaping a greener, more climate-friendly food system.

 

If you’re a meat-lover, why not try a reducetarian diet to start building more sustainable food habits. And if you’re already committed to a vegetarian diet, perhaps a predominantly plant-based diet is the next step to eating more sustainably?

 

Tracking your favourite recipes in the Floop app will help you learn about the COe impact of your favourite meals, too.

 

Remember to check out our sustainable meals for more low carbon meal inspiration.