These Meat Companies are Giving up on Producing Meat


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.

Piglets resting together. Farmed animals deserve to live peaceful lives, and the more people give up meat, the fewer animals we deprive of that opportunity. Image credit Kim Bartlett – Animal People, Inc.

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.

Chickens at Pasado’s Safe Haven. The more we move toward a meatless future, the more animals like this will be spared from the suffering they endure in the meat industry. Image credit Kim Bartlett – Animal People, Inc.

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.

Sources articles, in Dutch, can be accessed here and here.

Featured image: Violet the pig in a field of chamomile at Farm Sanctuary, NY. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.

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About Author

My name is Tobias Leenaert. I am the author of How to Create a Vegan World: a Pragmatic Approach (Lantern Press, 2017). I think about strategy and give presentations world wide about vegan advocacy. Most of those are part of trainings that I give together with Melanie Joy, for the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy (CEVA). I’m also co-founder of ProVeg International, a new pro-vegan food awareness organization that wants to reduce the consumption of animal products worldwide with 50% by 2040. And I identify as an Effective Altruist. I think about the best ways to achieve a compassionate society. I’m also a slow opinionist. Click to see author's profile.

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