top of page

Veganism in poor countries.

Consumer trends evolve rapidly; in developed countries, it is where the tendency towards veganism has been most visibly popularized, but this time it will be approached from the perspective of developing or underdeveloped countries.

Given that in the next 25 years the world population could reach 9,000 million people, food experts support ending meat production because of how unsustainable this industry is, in economic terms, the cost of maintaining the livestock market it is extremely high[1], it also represents a tremendous impact on the biosphere, the forests that must be cut down to install larger fields; all this harms another sector of consumers who are relegated: the poor. The increased demand for products of animal origin requires greater consumption of cereals and soybeans, which tend to increase in price (especially during droughts), thus leaving them out of reach for those living below the poverty line[2]. In addition, the excessive use of water and deforestation directly affect the population with reduced economic capacities as they depend more on the environment.

Graph 1. Countries with the largest increase in the vegetarian population between 2016 and 2017 Source: Statista

In the previous graph you can see a list of the countries with the largest vegan population between 2016 and 2017 and Nigeria leads this list overwhelmingly. In some countries it is possible to be vegan or not (especially in developed countries) but in others there is simply no other option because of how expensive meat is, in Nigeria most of the population lives in poverty, the country is geographically rich in oil[3] but 70% of its population is below the poverty line, the drop in oil prices due to the pandemic has resulted in job loss and decreased income.

In Latin American countries, the only one that appears on this list is Brazil, the Gini index[4] of said country in the first quarter of 2020 was from 0.642 to 0.647 in the same period of 2021, which can be considered as an increase in inequality and greater accumulation of wealth among the wealthiest. Currently 14% of that country has declared itself vegetarian (around 30 million Brazilians), its gastronomy, known worldwide for its wide variety of meat cuts, has evolved into a vegan alternative thanks to the animal protein alternatives available on the market; expectations indicate that in a few years you will not be able to tell the difference between a beef or one produced with pea protein, beet juice and potato starch.

For poor countries, the dependence they have on the environment is greater than that of rich countries on them. Half a hectare cultivated with rice and legumes can feed 6 people, but in underdeveloped countries feeding cattle with the same grains they consume is a luxury; while in countries such as the United States, 90% of the cultivated cereals are destined for animal consumption and at least half of the products of arable land are destined for their consumption. In addition to the uneven distribution of food in the world, it is also accompanied by another serious problem: land, fertilizer and water are rapidly disappearing and the meat industry is largely to blame for this. Producing a kilo of meat costs 25 times more resources than a kilo of vegetables.

According to the FAO, 70% of the food grown in developing countries is destined to feed the livestock industry, 82% of children who die of hunger live in countries where animals are fed, which end up being eaten in countries mainly developed. While in a few countries tons of food is wasted, there are others where there is not even enough for the little ones. In the Asian continent, a curious phenomenon occurs in terms of consumption trends because as the middle class grows, meat consumption is also increasing; By 2024, the Chinese are expected to eat 12% more beef, Thailand 25%, Turkey 20% and Indonesia 18%[5].

In a planet with ample natural resources it is possible to feed all the people in the world, but there is a clear problem when it is preferred to feed the cattle, which in turn, feed the minority with greater purchasing power than the children or the population in general of underdeveloped countries. If humanity stopped consuming meat, milk and eggs, the demand for cereals and legumes required to feed the millions of head of cattle that exist on farms with the sole purpose of becoming food would decrease proportionally. With the decrease in demand, prices would be regulated and thus it would be more accessible to all. In the end, demand determines supply and if more people intend to reduce their meat consumption, it will be reflected in general well-being.


· Pucp, A. (2008, 7 febrero). El veganismo acabará con el hambre en el mundo, | (ADEA). Agrupación para la defensa ética de los animales. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Pasquali, M. (2019, 2 agosto). ¿En qué países crece más el vegetarianismo? Statista Infografías. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· BBC News Mundo. (2019, 23 septiembre). Cómo cambiaría la economía si todos nos volviéramos vegetarianos. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Elliott, C., Situ, C., & mcevoy, C. (2018, 28 diciembre). ¿Contribuyen las dietas veganas a la malnutrición en los países desarrollados? The Conversation. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Patel, R. (2007, 22 diciembre). Cuando el vegetarianismo es cosa de ricos. El país. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· The War on Meat: How Low-meat and No-meat Diets are. . .. (s. F.). Euromonitor. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Díaz, D. (2019, 31 mayo). ARGUMENTO: “El veganismo no ayuda a reducir la pobreza”. Respuestas Veganas. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Vegano, B. Y. (2020, 8 febrero). Veganismo en el mundo. Bueno y Vegano. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Castellanos, Y. M. (2021, 19 diciembre). Índice de Gini. Economipedia. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Brasil: Desigualdad social aumenta en medio de la pandemia. (2021, 16 junio). Agencia Brasil. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Londoño, E. (2020, 28 diciembre). En Brasil, famoso por su carne, surge una ola vegetariana. The New York Times. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· Agricultural output - Meat consumption - OECD Data. (s. F.). Theoecd. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

· These maps show changes in global meat consumption by 2024. Here’s why that matters. (s. F.). Ensia. Recuperado 12 de enero de 2022, de

[1] Para conseguir un kilo de carne de res se necesitan 16 de alimento, 6 si es de cerdo, 4 si es de pavo y 3 si se trata de carne de pollo. [2] El banco mundial usa la medida de ingreso de 2 dólares estadounidenses al día como umbral de pobreza. [3] La explotación del Bonny light, abundante y codiciado por el comercio internacional de hidrocarburos para su incorporación en el refino. [4] El coeficiente de Gini es un número entre 0 y 1, donde 0 se corresponde con la perfecta igualdad (todos tienen los mismos ingresos) y donde el valor 1 se corresponde con la perfecta desigualdad (una persona tiene todos los ingresos y los demás ninguno). [5] Véase más en:

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page