In the past 3 years the availability of plant-based and cruelty-free products in Brazil has grown from strength to strength. In fact, plant-based companies are growing at around 40 percent annually in the South American country. The continent has previously held the title of largest beef exporter in the world, as such seeing such a radical transformation in South America’s biggest country could create a huge impact on the success of plant-based businesses globally. This growing trend is now having a positive impact on Brazil’s children who are now set to receive 5 million more plant-based lunches per year.
This new initiative is the work of the animal welfare charity, Mercy for Animals (MFA). It has been named the ‘Alimentação Consciente Brasil‘ or Conscious Eating Brazil and will affect three cities in the country, Várzea Grande, Cuiabá, and Sao Gonçalo. Over the course of the year, “This initiative will create 5 million vegan meals a year that would otherwise contain animal products. This breaks down to around 140,000 plant-based meals each week.”
All three cities have pledged to having only plant-based foods for one day each week in the city’s public schools and Cuiaba have extended this to include social assistance programs. MFA have suggested that this initiative could save the lives of 11,000 animals every year. Although this is a small percentage of the 56 billion animals killed globally for food each year, it still makes a positive impact.
This is not the only initiative pushing Brazil towards a plant-based future. The Good Food Institute (GFI) helps plant-based businesses find their feet in the Brazilian Market. GFI not only help businesses financially but also with product development and product promotion. GFI believes that plant-based products in Brazil will continue to prove popular for some time ‘including and especially from non-vegan demographics.’
The change in the country’s approach to plant-based alternatives since 2014 is dramatic. All that was available as an alternative to cheese were a handful of soy-based cheeses and a cheese powder. Now the country has potato based cheese available, vegan mayonnaise and many different types of cow’s milk alternatives. It is hoped that in the next few years all these products will be widely available across the country.
Encouraging children to try plant-based foods is particularly important for the growth of the vegan movement. If plant-based foods are considered normal and widely available by today’s children then the same can be said for tomorrow’s adults. In addition to this, it could help improve the health of the next generation of adults as studies have found that early exposure to products such as cow’s milk can lead to an increase in the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Plant-based diets also have many other health benefits especially when compared to a heavily red meat based diet which has been linked to increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia and strokes.
To see such a change in a meat dominated country is really good news for animals, the environment and the health of the world population.
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