Vegan Capitalism: Food Corporations and BlackRock

After seducing the population with the so-called wonders of the vegan diet, vegan capitalism is coming into the hands of transnational meat producers and large investment funds landed in the food industry which are presented as substitutes.

Until not so long ago, six or seven decades ago, the diet of the majority of the rural population was austere, balanced and subject to the possibilities of their territories.

Along with developmentism and the concentration of population in cities, from study centers, universities and prestigious magazines – in coordination with the food industry – the message of the need to improve dietary habits s is widespread, increasing the consumption of proteins, especially those of animal origin.

By dint of advertising and propaganda, think of the case of fast food, the message has become culturally impregnated and settled in the imagination as the model to follow.

To satisfy this “created” demand, the food industry, capable of producing a lot of milk, meat and its derivatives at low prices, has been justified, thanked and praised, without contemplating or worrying about its excessive externalities. Traditional food and agriculture were looked down upon and ridiculed, affecting bodies and territories.

From buying and cooking fresh foods, they have moved to ultra-processed foods reheated in the microwave, and the industry has clearly come out on top. Something as intimate as our food ended up being delegated to a few mega-corporations controlled by investment funds.

From ultra-processed animal protein to vegan capitalism

Knowing what happened, and now that vegan food trends are hitting big quotas, could history be repeating itself? Is it a culture-induced success? And if so, are they new players or regulars?

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Although it may seem contradictory, the main transnational companies of industrial meat production are at the origin of foods which, based on vegetables or proteins grown in laboratories, are presented as substitutes for meat, fish, eggs and milk.

Much information on this reality can be found in the Proteins and Policies report of the Ipes-Food entity or on the pages of the ALEPH2020 scientific platform.

More and more transnational companies behind the new vegan boom

For example, the company Vivera, well known in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for its more than a hundred references such as vegan salmon or vegan chicken kebab, belongs to the Brazilian JBS, the largest world producer of poultry and beef and number two in pork production.

In the portfolio of JBS, we also discover that he is the majority shareholder of the Spanish BioTech Foods, dedicated to the cultured meat sector.

While in the United States, two of the country’s main meat companies, Tyson Foods and Smithfield, have created their own divisions to produce their vegetable-based nuggets and sausages to compete with the two industry leaders, Impossible Foods (associated with Burger King) and Beyond Meat.

While in Spain we find the same phenomenon. The country’s largest integrator, leader in chicken and pig macro-farms, Vall Companys, launched the Zyrcular Foods business project in 2019 to manufacture meat substitutes from peas, wheat or soybeans by far , whose products can already be found in various supermarkets with its white label. And their expansion will continue if they obtain the 134 million euros presented to the Next Generation recovery fund to meet new challenges in this area.

If we continue to break down the vegan market, we end up finding more multinational corporations that have controlled the world’s food for decades, such as Cargill, Nestlé, Danone, etc.

In addition, there are also investment funds such as BlackRock, the largest in the world (supporting Tyson or JBS, among others), or Breakthrough Energy Ventures chaired by Bill Gates (actively participating in Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat).

The landing of the multinationals of the food industry in this “segment” could not be done without the certainty of having first seduced the population.

As companies so competitive with each other have always done, they have no trouble finding commonplaces, like the EAT platform, through which – together with the trained “science” and the aforementioned investors – they are responsible for transmitting and lobbying for these new eating habits.

The vegan diet and the climate crisis

Repeating like mantras the wonders of this vegan diet to curb the climate crisis and guarantee eternal health, they have succeeded in imposing a story that has permeated the population and the administrations. And the truth is that reducing the solution to all our ills by removing animal protein from our diets isn’t just a reductionist story, it’s also incorrect.

Why don’t they address the differences in patterns of animal protein production, knowing as we know the importance of herbivores in nutrient cycling, the use they make of foods that don’t compete with the human population , their role as fertilizer for the soil, etc?

Are they unaware that a diet based on pea, soy, corn or wheat protein reproduces the same pattern of monocultures responsible for the problems they say they want to solve? Why is the dependence on oil for so many transformations, displacements and plastics that dress these pseudo-foods not recognized?

Did we believe that veganism was a success of the awareness work of certain NGOs? Meat or vegan, traditional food capitalism distances us from the sovereignty that it is urgent to recover and which can only be established by adapting our diet to the cycles of abundance of the earth that peasants and peasants, shepherds and shepherdesses of our regional correspondents know how to manage: in their orchards and on their farms. Simple is beautiful.

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