The Brazilian vegetarian society (SVB) estimates that 30 million people in Brazil have adopted a vegetarian diet, or 14% of the overall population of the country. This figure represents an increase of 75% on 2012 numbers, when 8% of Brazilians defined themselves as vegetarians.
Research by Ibope and Kantar Wordpanel has found there are 240 vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Brazil. Fast food chains are also cashing in on the trend and offering meatless options. Food companies that have traditionally peddled meat only have started to include veggie burgers in their portfolio.
The success of vegan burger foodtech company Futuro Burger by Fazenda Futuro is another sign that times are a-changin’ in Brazil. Their recipe includes pea protein, chickpea, onion and beetroot. Their goal is to offer a facsimile meat alternative aimed at those who are transitioning and miss the texture of animal flesh.
Changes are happening in the official sphere as well. The city of Jundiaí, in São Paulo, has been in the news for its groundbreaking initiative to offer vegetarian options at primary schools in order to positively influence children’s eating behavior. The addition of plant-based proteins to the young students’ menus is being monitored by the Vegetarian Society. The organization says the recipes are simple and tasty and are adapted from recipes the children already know and like.
Further south in Florianópolis, a 2015 bill allows city schools to implement a vegetarian menu in schools across the city. The administration expects the number of parents looking for veggie alternatives for their kids at school to grow. City cooks are now trained to understand and cater for the needs of vegetarian and vegan children. Meanwhile, the city is studying menu preferences and behavior patterns in order to improve its vegetarian catering.