More Mexicans than ever before are consciously cutting animal products out of their diet, Vivia Glam Magazine reports.
According to data collected by the Gourmet Show, a major Mexican food festival that showcases new products and highlights the latest trends in the gourmet food and drinks space, 20 percent of Mexicans identify as vegan or vegetarian. And, according to Maria Fernanda, manager of Villalobos Vegan Inc., the majority of these people are women, representing between 60-70 percent of this vegan demographic.
Alfredo Cordero, creative director of Tradex, Mexico’s leading organizer of trade and consumer events, says the change in eating habits is also driven primarily by younger consumers who are motivated by a variety of reasons such as health, environmentalism, and animal rights.
Further, a growing number of Mexicans have adopted a raw vegan diet, or a plant-based diet where one does not eat food that has been cooked at a temperature above 104°F. Followers of a gluten-free vegetarian diet are also on the rise, as is fruitarianism, which is a diet heavily based on fruit.
Veganism on the rise in u.s. latino communities
In the U.S., the number of Latinos choosing vegan food is on the rise, particularly in Southern California. According to an article by National Public Radio (NPR), the plant-based movement is particularly strong in the suburbs of Santa Ana, Ontario, Highland Park, and Whittier, where pop-up food festivals are attracting primarily Mexican-Americans. “[I’m] happy to not have white hipster vegans run all the vegan stuff,” remarked one Santa Ana festival goer, Josh Scheper.
Many vendors began their vegan businesses to combat the high-priced dishes characteristic of white-owned plant-based restaurants, cropping up in rapidly-gentrifying neighborhoods. “I wanted to find a good vegan taco de carnitas and I couldn’t find an affordable one. They were only at affluent vegan hipster spots,” said Raul Medina, owner of the plant-based taqueria La Veganza. He serves his food in low-income communities, where access to healthy options may be limited. “Why are we just giving up that [vegan] market to rich people? We need to take back our ingredients and meals, and make it available to people of color,” he added.
While Medina creates savory vegan Mexican food, another SoCal vendor, Vegan by Victorias, specializes in egg-free, dairy-free versions of classic sweets found in panaderias. Founded in 2017 by Earvin Lopez, the bakery serves vegan pan dulce, or sweet bread. Lopez says that he has garnered a large following among locals and the vegan community, with some customers driving as far as Arizona just to try his authentic vegan Mexican pastries.
In Los Angeles, Cena Vegan has also attracted a large following with its plant-based takes on classic dishes like nachos, burritos, and tacos. Along with three dedicated pop-ups a week, Cena Vegan also sells its vegan Latin American-style meats in select Los Angeles area grocery stores.
Image Credit: Cena Vegan