Luckily for us, we have Niko Koffeman. Niko is the Founder of the Party for the Animals in the Netherlands – the world’s first-ever political party for non-humans. He is also one of the people behind The Vegetarian Butcher, a “butcher of the future” that sells plant-based meat products. Niko helped to start The Vegetarian Butcher because he wanted to “hack” meat. “We cannot feed the world with meat,” Niko tells us, so he set out to find a way to replicate its taste without having to kill animals.
Since its founding in 2010, The Vegetarian Butcher has expanded across the globe, winning numerous awards along the way, including the Best Vegan Product at the 2016 Vegan Awards and the Most Caring Company award from PETA in the same year.
The Vegetarian Butcher is just one piece of the growing number of meat-substitute providers. With changing consumer tastes, it’s no surprise that the meat-substitute market is expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2026. “You don’t have to be vegan to eat plant-based proteins,” says Maria. A Johns Hopkins study found that two-thirds of US consumers are eating less of at least one type of meat. We’re seeing similar trends in the UK and Europe, where consumers seek protein substitutes that match the taste, texture, and flavor of meat, fish, and dairy, without all the health and environmental implications.
Businesses and governments are also getting with the program. In Germany, for example, politicians proposed raising taxes on meat to the standard rate of 19%, as opposed to its currently reduced rate of 7%. At FAIRR, Maria works with a global network of investors addressing ESG issues in protein supply chains. She points out that companies across the globe are increasingly embracing diversified protein options – from big food manufacturers like Unilever and General Mills to supermarket chains like Carrefour and Albert Heijn. We are even seeing fast-food chains like McDonald’s and KFC launching new plant-based versions of their popular products such as a PLT and plant-based chicken nuggets.