Last week we received word that Unilever has purchased The Vegetarian Butcher. One of the largest multinationals in the food industry is now the owner of a small vegan food manufacturing company, one of the most popular in the UK.
The story of ” The Vegetarian Butcher ” is itself very interesting. In 2007, Jaap Korteweg, a Dutch farmer, became a vegetarian and changed a 9-generation family tradition: he would continue in the “meat” business but without killing animals. Korteweg’s vision is “to conquer the world. Our mission is for plant-based meat to become the standard and this will help accelerate our mission. ”
This acquisition may not be a one-off event. The traditional food industry has long considered how to address the constant increase in the consumption of vegan products. At times, they have chosen to attack and ridicule vegans. But at the same time, they are making more and more vegan alternatives to their own products.
Thus, the purchase of small vegan companies by large multinationals may be a growing trend in the coming years. Is it something positive, that we should celebrate? Or is it something negative, that we should resist?
Everything has its pros and cons, and cases like this too. I was struck (and loved) by a post by Tobias Leenaert, author of How to Create a Vegan World, about it. According to him, there are 5 reasons why the purchase of small vegan companies by large multinationals is a good thing :
- More money for advertising
- More money for R&D, to improve current products, and to develop new ones
- Greater dissemination and scope as there are contracts with more businesses
- Less motivation to confront and sabotage the growth of veganism, now that the company benefits from that growth
- The people behind The Vegetarian Butcher now have a lot of money that they can potentially reinvest in new vegan-friendly projects
Basically, money that has been earned from animal exploitation is going to be used to manufacture, improve, develop, distribute and sell more vegan products. Vegan burgers are not by themselves the ones that will convince someone to go vegan. But the larger and better the offer of vegan alternatives, the easier it will be to reduce and completely abandon the consumption of animal meat.
This step is going in the right direction. And it is already known that, as the saying goes … All roads lead to a vegan world.