Latin America's plant-based market is booming

21 Jun 2022

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preethiness

plantbased Photo: Roman Odintsov

Larissa Maluf watched in horror as she saw a new-born calf being torn viciously away from her mother. The calf was refused nursing from her mother by her human caretakers. The low moans emitting from both the mother and child affected Larissa more than she cared to admit.

A born and raised Brazilian, Larissa is no stranger to animal products and byproducts. In fact, coming from one of the larger meat-eating countries in Latin America, it was far stranger to be vegetarian or vegan. However, after watching how the dairy industry produced milk, Larissa decided there and then to make a permanent switch.

While the mass population of Latin America continued with farming, making and selling animal products and byproducts, a growing community of vegans are rising up too. abillion, the sustainability app with over 1 million members worldwide finds that Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico are among the top fastest-growing countries for people who are vegan, or transitioning to veganism. Other countries who show a strong indication for veganism are Colombia and Peru.

This pattern is consistent with independent surveys where results show that an average of 8% of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean is vegetarian; and that as much as 90% of the population across Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru want to eat more plant-based foods.

Plant based manufacturers too saw this opportunity and hurriedly snapped up the opportunity to set up roots in these high-growth countries. Beyond Meat was one of the first to establish their presence in Brazil, using that as a base to penetrate the rest of the market, while Meixan Food Tech company, Heartbest Foods leveraged their country's agricultural wealth like amaranth, peas and quinoa to produce alternative milk, cheeses, and creams.

On abillion, we’ve developed our own watchlist based on user feedback and reviews. Here’re some products we believe will take over Latin America soon.

NotCo(Chile)

Ice cream

Chilean plant-based protein brand NotCo has already demonstrated vast success reproducing plant-based versions of beef, milk and most recently, chicken. It’s also the first Latin American alternative protein unicorn status.

Asante(Mexico)

Plantbased Photo: Asante

Dipping through their Mexican culinary heritage, Asante produces plant-based meals with locally grown ingredients. Asante partners with local farms to bring the authentic tastes of Mexico. Natural ingredients like ANNATTO SEED, Peas, AMARANTH, Nopal, Olive oil, Apple Cider Vinegar and many more are used to produce delicious plant-based meat.

Felices Las Vacas(Argentina)

Felices Photo: Felices Las Vacas

Riding on this plant-based wave is Felices Las Vacas. This Argentinian brand is producing highly-regarded vegan products that are affordable and animal-friendly. Started in 2014 Today, they make over 40 plant-based products. Their Mozzarella and Le Choc were awarded the best vegan cheese and chocolate in the world, respectively, by abillion’s members last year. In fact, Felices Las Vacas emerged as a winner across most dairy alternative categories.

The New Foods (Brazil)

The New Foods Photo: The New Foods

Launched in 2019, The New Foods is among the fastest-growing brands in Latin America. In its first 18 months of operation, the brand has grown to more than 700 outlets and has a presence in 16 states in Brazil. The brand uses only natural plant ingredients to create much-loved meats such as beef burgers, chicken tenders and even salmon fillets. For plant protein, the brand only uses pea, lentil and rice protein.

Are these on your watchlist too?

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