Fry's chicken strips. Pics: The Fry Family Food Co

The last year or so took many of us who work and live in the meat-free, plant-based space by surprise - the growth was extraordinary.

Globally there has been a shift, there is a growing awareness of the impact meat and animal products have on us - not just on our bodies, but on the planet too. 

This is creating a demand for products, which in turn businesses are responding to – leading to more demand. Hopefully, this cycle continues and
plant-based living becomes mainstream.

There are 3 main reasons why plant-based makes more sense:

1. The environment - reducing animal-based foods eases environmental impact with immediate and positive results. It is more effective than recycling, cycling to work or taking a 1-minute showers.

This is why:

  • It will reduce your greenhouse emissions (The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions).
  • It lessens your water and energy use (it takes over 15 000 litres of water to make 1kg of beef)
  • Animal agriculture uses vast amounts of land (almost a third of arable land worldwide). This is why it is such a big cause of deforestation and desertification.
  • Did you know that animal agriculture is the leading cause of water pollution and ocean dead zones? Animal manure is often used, untreated, as fertilizer for crops which releases hundreds of toxins into the soil, and thus our groundwater, rivers and oceans.
  • The air around factory farms often contain a whole host of toxins at too-high levels. So, less factory farms, equals cleaner air.

2. Your health

  • A plant-based diet contains no cholesterol and is much lower in saturated fats, meaning a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
  • Plant-based foods will help you keep your ph levels alkaline, meaning less risk for cancer and other diseases – and an improved sports/exercise recovery time.
  • And of course, a rich diet of a wide variety of plants is going to give you an armory of important nutrients and anti-oxidants meaning heart-protection, better hormone, increased energy, a stronger immune system (fewer allergies, colds and flu) and will help maintain a stable weight.

Other, lesser-known, benefits are: 

Deeper sleep, a stable and more positive mood, increased libido and better body odour!

3. For the Animals

  • Compassion in World Farming say that by introducing a one meat-free day in South Africa – 11 200 cattle, 2 million chickens, 10 000 pigs and 22 300 sheep will not face slaughter each week.
  • We estimate that through the sales of Fry’s plant-protein products we’ve cut down on the slaughter of 20-million chickens, 18 000 cows and 75 000 pigs. This is how I truly measure our success.
  • Through Meat-Free Monday we are encouraging people to have even just one plant-based day per week as a stepping stone to a fully plant-based diet
  • So the question is not “can you make a difference?”. You already do. It’s just a matter of what kind of difference you choose to make.

Tammy Fry is the International Marketing Director of The Fry Family Food Co. and Director of Meat Free Mondays in South Africa