Can Fazenda Futuro make Brazil’s meat industry obsolete?
Fazenda Futuro means Future Farm – and in a country like Brazil, where agriculture is a major contributor to the economy, it’s a company name that strikes a chord. It also raises questions. What is the future of farming in a country such as Brazil? A country where sections of climate-friendly rainforest are razed in order to create more pasture for livestock?
In fact, even though awareness of the issues has grown in recent years, deforestation increased between August 2019 and July 2020 by 9.5% when compared to the previous year.
But demand for meatless meat is on the rise in Brazil. The number of vegans in the country have doubled in the last six years, according to the New York Times.
“Brazilian plant-based food start-ups have seen soaring demand since animal-based protein analogues first became widely available in 2019 in supermarkets and restaurants,” Ernesto Londoño wrote for the Times. “Their founders predict that within a few years consumers won’t be able to tell the difference between a burger patty from a cow and one produced with pea protein, beet juice and potato starch.”
Fazenda Futuro launched in Brazil in 2019. As the country’s first plant-based meat substitute range, it had something of a mountain to climb. After all, Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef. Additionally, it’s the third largest consumer of beef, after America and China.
The founder of Future Farms, Marcos Leta, says that the brand’s goal is simple. It is ‘to make meatpackers obsolete.”
So far, the range is made up of plant-based burgers, meatballs, sausage, and mince. Soy is a core ingredient, as well as pea and chickpea protein. Everything is 100% natural and GMO-free.
If you hanker after the flavour of meat, then these products may not be for you. I gave them to carnivorous individuals, who immediately clocked that they were vegan. They polished them off with gusto — the ‘delicious’ factor was not an issue —but pretending that these products taste ‘like meat’ may be a step too far.
That said, they definitely feel meaty. They have a juicy and toothsome texture. There is nothing dry or crumbly about them. Additionally, many of us actively wish to avoid the taste and smell of meat when looking for plant-based substitutes. The Artificial Intelligence that Fazenda Futuro uses to replicate that mouth-feel is spot-on, though. These products are as much about tech as they are about food. As an example, an algae skin encases the Future Sausage. It doesn’t taste seaweedy —but it does give impressive crispiness.
Incredibly, Future Farms have already taken over a quarter of Brazil’s burger industry. Next stop? Europe. Launching in the UK this month, the whole range of Future Farms products will be available in Sainsbury’s stores and will retail for £3.89 after an introductory £3 per pack period.