South Wales-based meat packer St. Merryn Foods Group—the largest employer in the Merthyr Tydfil area—announced that it will no longer be able to sustain its 1100-member work force due to declining demand for red meat. The meat company plans to lay off approximately 400 employees to mitigate lost profits. “We do not take the decision to launch this review lightly, but it is the only way our business can survive and prosper for the longer term,” the company said in a statement. St. Merryn is working with job centers and the Welsh government to relocate former employees outside of the meat sector. Local reporter Hannah Thomas says, “Perhaps we’re losing our appetite for red meat.” Two-thirds of residents of the United Kingdom substantially reduced their intake of red meat after the United Nations reclassified processed meats into the same category as carcinogens last year. In the United States, the plant-based industry bolsters the economy by $13.7 billion annually, and has created 60,000 higher-than-average paying jobs to date.
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