Woman in a supermarket

Supermarkets Lack Initiative Towards Meat Reduction

A new FOUR PAWS report reveals the missing strategies in DACH and UK


Vienna, 27 October 2022 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS assessed and scored 38 leading supermarkets (and not so ‘super’ ones) in DACH countries and the UK with regards to their meat reduction goals as part of its ‘Atlas Challenge’ ranking earlier this year. Now, the latest summary report was published on 27 October, detailing the likes of Lidl, Aldi, Spar and others. While some food retailers have already expanded their plant-based product range, no one has yet committed to a binding meat and dairy reduction.

Between a quarter and a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions results from food and agriculture – the majority from the livestock sector alone. FOUR PAWS calls once more for an overall reduction of farmed animals, a transition to more plant-based proteins and an end to factory farming.

Worldwide, meat and dairy production provides just 18 per cent of calories consumed but uses 83 per cent of global farmland. In addition, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from animal agriculture are twice those from plant-based diets. Food retailers need to acknowledge their strong influence on the overproduction of animal products and set clear reduction strategies, which they still lack.

“It is not sustainable to put the pressure for change on consumers or farmers alone. We are seeing a great increase of plant-based products being introduced and expanded by supermarkets. But, they also have a responsibility to set clear targets to reduce factory farmed meat and dairy offerings to help mitigate climate change and future pandemics. Supermarkets are enabling a significant overconsumption of meat and are powerful influencers contributing to the over-production of animal-derived products. The solution is as clear as the argument in favour of it: binding-reduction strategies must be planned for and communicated about before it is too late, and clear binding-reduction strategies are key.”  

Sonja Svensek, Head of Nutrition at FOUR PAWS

38 food retailers and zero commitment towards binding meat reduction goals

The main findings of the 38 assessed supermarket chains are sobering. None secured a ‘Very Good’ rank, however, Lidl (DE) came out on top with Lidl (AT) coming in second within the ‘Good’ category. Although 50 per cent of the companies have plans to increase their plant-based offerings in the future, none of them have a concrete meat or dairy reduction strategy in place. In addition, most retailers do not actively support a ban of cheap meat promotion.

Only a few, such as Lidl (DE), Penny (DE) and Billa (AT), consider true cost-pricing, which, among other things, also takes into account the costs on the environment.

Kaufland (DE), Coop (CH) and Migros (CH) are the only supermarkets who claimed to sell 50 per cent or less meat from factory farming. While it is encouraging that the majority (73%) of the German companies participated in the questionnaire, only two out of ten UK supermarkets took part. Austrian and Swiss food retailers came out half/half when it came to participation.

Here you can find the full report.

Background & Methodology

The ‘Atlas Challenge’ ranking depicts the level of effort and performance of some of the leading supermarkets in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and in the United Kingdom on their meat reduction strategies and sustainable plant-based nutrition initiatives. This was done by research conducted via publicly available information online, as well as by sending out a questionnaire for their input between January-June 2022. All companies that did not  respond as well as Globus (DE), Marktkauf (DE), Penny (AT), Adeg (AT), MPreis (AT), Spar (CH), Denner (CH), Sainsbury’s (UK) and Waitrose (UK), who declined to participate, were evaluated solely via research done by FOUR PAWS based on publicly available information online. Companies were evaluated in four categories – CSR reports, marketing strategies, product portfolio and on their progress and commitment based on a grading system - Low (0-25%), Average (26-50%), Good (51-75%) and Very Good (76-100%).

FOUR PAWS will be present at the upcoming COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt in November 2022, highlighting the connection between factory farming and climate change to further address the many shortcomings the food industry must still overcome to efficiently contribute to worldwide animal and climate protection goals.

Cattle farm

Time to stop factory farming

Find out more about Climate and Animal Welfare

Read more
Katharina Braun

Katharina Braun

Team Lead Public Relations


+43 (0) 664 885 33 270

VIER PFOTEN International 
Linke Wienzeile 236
1150 Vienna, Austria

FOUR PAWS on Social Media

Stay up to date on this topic and on all FOUR PAWS activities on our social media channels:

or subscribe to FOUR PAWS International newsletter.


FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org

Share now!