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UK Supermarkets Modernize Layout to Sell Less Meat

Oxford University will help grocery chains rearrange their aisles to encourage shoppers to buy more produce and less meat.

New project “Our Planet, Our Health” will launch this week in an effort to restructure British supermarkets to be more climate friendly. Scientists at Oxford University have partnered with various supermarkets—including grocery giant Sainsbury—to rearrange aisles to feature more produce and less meat. The mission of the project—which received more than $6 million in government funding—centers around recent studies that link the consumption of animal products to higher greenhouse gas emissions and increased global mortality. “Nutritionists, political economists, and epidemiologists at Oxford will study how animal foods affect health and the environment,” the project’s director Sarah Molton says, “and they will then work with Sainsbury’s to present those findings in ways people can understand.” Practically, the project aims to place advertisements for plant-based foods at the end of aisles, incorporate meat alternatives into the meat department to give customers the ability to compare the items, and offer discounts and rewards to shoppers who make more planet-friendly choices. The project will be tested in select outlets of Sainsbury's, which launched five vegan cheeses through its brand last year and reported an unexpected 300 percent bump in sales over initial predictions.

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