Vegans: a forward-looking market in Brazil


The growing demand on solutions from those who have stopped consuming any type of animal products 

There is an interesting inconsistency in the food scenario in Brazil. The animal protein product range available is increasing due to the technological advances implemented on animal breeding and food processing. However, the number of consumers who either are reducing the meat intake or have become vegan (the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products) has increased.


There are no accurate data on the number of vegans in Brazil. However, considering its representativeness compared to vegetarians from other countries, we could account around 7 million of vegans in a conservative estimate. According to a previous study by IBOPE Inteligência published in April 2018, considers that 14% of the Brazilians, or about 30 million people, are vegetarians.


Thus, this index is still far from the figures in the US, which accounts 16 million of vegans, according to a recent study published by Harris Interactive. However, it is a significant number while taking into account its equivalence compared to the total population from countries such as Paraguay, Bulgaria or Serbia. “The companies have gained awareness to that market’s potential”, says Guilherme Carvalho, executive secretary of Brazilian Vegetarian Society (SBV). “Brazil is still developing in respect to the vegan product range available in retail stores when compared to other countries. Nevertheless, it has been impressive the pace those changes are taking place and that scenario is developing week after week”, he says.


Over a thousand certificates


According to Carvalho, a sudden increase in launches for vegan consumers has started two years ago. In 2018, the number of products with the Vegan Seal, granted by SVB since 2013, has increased from 400 to more than a thousand. “Furthermore, there are several products that aren’t certified yet but meet those consumers’ demands”.


Vegan products are not exclusive and that is a very important information to manufacturers and brand owners. According to studies commissioned and supported by SVB, the majority of vegan products consumers are not actually vegan. An increasing share of the Brazilian population seeks to reduce the consumption of beef, milk/dairy and eggs. Besides, 70% of Brazilian adults has some degree of intolerance to lactose. In addition, the vegan product certification is important: a study conducted by IBOPE in 2018 showed that 55% of Brazilians could increase the consumption of vegan products if there were a clear label identifying them properly.


However, we should point out that the sales performance of vegan products is driven by many factors: “Studies show that vegans purchase their food based on convenience, price and taste. There is a good chance to launch a product whose sales are successful if its development is based on that tripod”, Carvalho says.


The current scenario for vegans is cheerful in food outside of home. According to SVB data, there are more than 250 vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Brazil. The restaurants and traditional cafeterias are gradually making room in their menus for recipes free from animal products.


Opção Vegana is a programme developed by SVB, which offers free consultancy services for those in the food chain business who are willing to meet the demands of vegan consumers. Brands such as Baked Potato, Maki’s Place, Bacio di Latte and Lanchonete da Cidade have requested the consultants’ advice. “We noticed there are brands launching lacto-ovo vegetarian products instead of vegan, which are less inclusive. It is a major misconception considering we are in 2019. However, there is a positive outlook overall as it brings a wider selection of vegan food”, Carvalho mentions.


Attention on many fronts


The food industry is not alone in the run-up to meet the demands from vegans. “The food producers are ahead but manufacturers of personal care and cosmetics, as well as those in the clothing industry are developing”, Carvalho says. Although other solutions are not highly mentioned, it does not mean they are not important. “It has been a while since collagen free capsule shells for medicine is available in the market. There is also a range of Vegan Seal certified tattoo ink”, the executive secretary of SVB adds.


Those who follow the vegan product market prospects on significant development at a short-term, maintaining a steep curve over the past few years. According to IBOPE Inteligência, 14% of the Brazilians are currently vegetarians and in 2012 they were 8%, which means a growth of 75% in six years. Over the same period, the search for ‘vegan’ on Google Trends has increased 14 times in Brazil.


Some would say that international trends take time to reach Brazil markets but spreads quickly when it does. In the UK, the number of vegans has risen by 360% from 2005 to 2015. That number has doubled in 6 years (2009-2015) in the US. In Both Europe and North America, the launches of vegan products have increased by 40%, year after year. “We have a fantastic window of opportunity for business”, Guilherme Carvalho summarises.


ANUFOOD Brazil, International Trade Show Exclusively for the Food and Beverage Sector in Sao Paulo, expects over 350 exhibiting brands. The companies from the industry will present new products for the vegan market. ANUFOOD Brazil takes place from 9th to 11th March 2020, in São Paulo, and it is the Brazilian version of Anuga, the largest food fair in the world held in Germany.


Following the outlines of the first edition of the event, in 2019, the trade fair brings exhibiting areas, lectures, conferences, as well as sharing experiences of the main launches, consumption trends, perspectives on food safety and best practices of the segment. The event has as target audience distributors, wholesalers, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, hotels, among others.


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