I firmly believe that plant based foods will replace meat and dairy more and more, and that at some point in the future, people will hardly even believe there was a time when we ate animals.
Now and then, we come across something that gives us a glimpse of how that future is unfolding. We read about all kinds of amazing innovative plant-based products being created. We read about unlikely people going vegan, like athletes or farmers. But the most amazing testimony of things to come comes from meat companies that are actually giving up on meat.
Yes, it’s starting to happen. Here’s a short tale of two companies.
Investing meat profits in plant products
The Dutch Bobeldijk Meat Company started up as a butchery in 1975. They added vegetarian products to their range in 2008. In 2015, the company changed its name to Bobeldijk Food Group. They announced that meatless products were the future, and that they would no longer invest in meat. Factory space used for meat production was freed up to give the meatless division room to grow. All turnover from meat products was invested in the development and expansion of the plant-based product line, called Vegafit. Bobeldijk CEO Remko Vogelenzang expects that the meatless division will be able to finance itself by the end of 2019, so that Bobeldijk will be able to cease their meat activities entirely. While they have still have lacto-ovo vegetarian products, they aim to make the whole line vegan.
Selling of the meat division
Another example, again from The Netherlands, is the company Enkco Food Group. Founded almost sixty years ago as a sausage company, it was initially a cooperation between ten different butchers. In 2003, Enkco acquired another company, which included the vegetarian brand Vivera. Along the way, Enkco extended its vegetarian range, to the point that presently, sales of vegetarian and vegan products are responsible for more than half of their 100 million euro annual turnover. Enkco will now sell off its meat branch to a larger meat company, and will itself continue under the name Vivera, as a meatfree company.
Roadmap for the future
In the case of Bobeldijk, we’re not sure what will happen to the meat division, but unless it disappears altogether, it will be continued by another company (that’s definitely so in Enkco’s case). Consequently, one might make the cynical comment that the net result remains the same. However, these examples are significant in that they show that transformations from meat business to meatfree business are possible. The companies in question are creating a roadmap that other companies can follow. They also illustrate a pragmatic point: that the new system may have to be built with money from the old system. Finally, they illustrate that, contrary to the fears of some vegans, the money spent on on veg products produced by a meat company does not (or at least not necessarily) go to strengthen their meat activities.
Animal products are on their way out. It’s just a matter of time.
Featured image: Violet the pig in a field of chamomile at Farm Sanctuary, NY. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.