A shift towards greener, healthier living is underway on a global scale. In line with this, people are becoming more aware of what they eat, where their food comes from and the impact it has on the environment.
Paradoxically, running parallel to this shift is a burgeoning meat industry. According to Tammy Fry, Marketing Director of Fry’s Vegetarian, 60 billion animals are currently reared for the meat industry every year, many of which are often cruelly slaughtered. Tammy says other spinoffs stemming from a growing meat industry include intensification of production methods, greater reliance on the transport sector and greater geographical concentrations of animals which puts strain on natural resources.
Lending credence to Tammy’s comments is a 2007 United Nations report which states that livestock emissions account for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. The report also found that 33 percent of all arable land is dedicated to animal feed production.
Fry’s Vegetarian is fully cognisant of the impact the meat industry has on the environment and has made it their goal to produce vegetarian food that impacts as little as possible on the environment. Fry’s vegetarian burgers are a perfect example of this mandate. According to Tammy, vegetarian burgers produce only 200g of CO² through their production cycles compared to meat burgers which produce 5595g.
Fry’s products are also much healthier than their meat counterparts. Fry’s products are free of preservatives, artificial colours, cholesterol and trans fats and are high in protein and fibre. They resemble meat’s texture and taste and offer the perfect alternative for those who have chosen to give up or reduce their consumption of meat.
Health benefits aside, Fry’s believes that a decrease in demand for meat would help turn back the clock on climate change which the company believes to be one of the greatest threats currently facing humanity. Says Tammy: “If climate change is to continue unchecked, the results would be irreversibly catastrophic and would impact on many generations yet to come.”
In line with this belief, Fry’s has also taken steps to become as environmentally friendly as possible in all its operations. Adds Tammy: “Traditionally, companies have only concerned themselves with the bottom line. Today’s profits can no longer be driven by greed and all companies need to take into consideration their impact on the environment.”
Fry’s has bolstered their commitment to the green movement not only through their products and internal operations but through various initiatives such as their Meat-Free Monday campaign.
This campaign was launched in September 2010 with the support of a number of non-profit organisations and local celebrities. The campaign urges all South Africans to pledge their support and make a difference by not eating meat, fish or chicken every Monday. The grass roots campaign has been presented to schools, universities, and businesses to try and stimulate support and create awareness of the negative impact that the meat industry has on the planet.
“It is pleasing to note that the spirit of the current generation is significantly different from its predecessors. Over the past few years there has been an awakening to the responsibility humans have towards the earth. This awakening is being reflected in how individuals travel, communicate, eat, and purchase goods and we are backing this attitude all the way.”