Vegetarians in Brazil?

There’s a vegetarian revolution in Brazil. Vegetarians in Brazil? Yup.

While Brazil is famous for its meat and for burning down the Amazon rainforest, the number of vegetarians in Brazil is increasing rapidly. The number of vegetarians in Brazil has doubled in the past six years, which has given rise to a booming plant-based industry that is seeking to make meatpacking plants obsolete. Are you ready for this? 30 million people, or 14 percent of Brazilians, reported being vegetarian or vegan in 2018.

“We’re going through a revolution,” said Bruno Fonseca, a co-founder of New Butchers, one of several new Brazilian companies that make plant-based versions of animal-based protein, including burgers, chicken breast alternatives and even salmon.

The shift away from meat is mainly being driven by health concerns, experts say. The prevalence of diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease has increased in Brazil in recent years as people have increased their meat consumption. Brazil’s per capita meat consumption has nearly quadrupled since the 1960’s, and many Brazilians are starting to tie these factors together.

Rising deforestation in the Amazon to raise meat and an increasingly visible animal rights movement, are secondary factors pushing Brazilians to reduce or phase out animal products from their diets. Sandra Lopes, the managing director of Mercy for Animals, oversees a team that does undercover investigations into abusive practices at food farms. But in addition to those conventional name-and-shame tactics, Mercy for Animals has found considerable success enlisting school districts and companies interested in reducing the amount of animal meat they serve.

Whether motivated by health concerns, animal rights, or deforestation and other environmental impacts, we’re glad that so many Brazilians are now recognizing the importance of cutting down or eliminating their meat consumption.