‘Buying back’ the Amazon with meat alternatives
Future Farm’s Pedro Zuim explains why he believes meat alternatives will save the world.
There’s a growing appetite of people turning to meat substitutes driven by a multitude of factors, including animal welfare, health and environmental concerns.
Right now – more so than ever before – our planet needs us, and for the most part, we can all help. The simplest and most accessible way we can contribute is meatless alternatives.
Food is more than just fuel; we eat for comfort, pleasure, nostalgia and variety. We know how our food should look and feel, and all the emotions it can evoke. Meat-free manufacturers have started to recognise this and create a new generation of plant-based ‘meat’ that tap into those senses. These products have all the seeming indulgence of meat but with a much lower environmental impact.
The future of plant-based eating
The future of plant-based eating spans beyond just meatless meats, it’s conscious consumption for all.
Research and development is vital to the plant-based category; it’s not enough for companies to just pat themselves on the back for creating a meatless meat product. It’s about building, growing and expanding on this, improving products until we have an offering that can match animal meat on taste, texture and looks, giving consumers a simple reason to make the switch.
Price and education are also key to the future of plant-based eating, we need to see the price between animal meat and meat alternatives slowly close, and for corporations to offer further education on this subject.
Repairing the rainforest with meat alternatives
The Amazon rainforest is one of the world’s greatest natural resources, yet human intervention (namely, cattle farming, illegal fires and deforestation), has led to the destruction of approximately 10,000 km2. It has also resulted in an imbalance between how much gas it produces (eg, methane and nitrous oxide) vs. how much carbon dioxide it absorbs. Quite simply, we have broken it.
But we can help. Soybeans are huge contributors to deforestation in the Amazon basin, so it’s important to look for products and companies that use sustainable and GMO-free soy. Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91 percent of the Amazon rainforest destruction, yet research1 shows that we could feed an additional four billion humans if we grew crops directly for human consumption, rather than feeding the crops to farmed animals for us to consume.
By making a shift towards a more plant-based, conscious way of eating and choosing to shop with brands that don’t contribute to deforestation, we can begin to repair some of the damage and be part of the cure, not the cause.
Ultimately, we need to look at the bigger picture and not just what’s on our plate.
Pedro Zuim is Marketing Director at Future Farm. Zuim was previously Head of Marketing of AB InBev, building cultural marketing and influencer platforms for leading brands including Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois, across the US, EMEA, APAC, LATAM and global HQ marketing divisions.