New GFI research indicates 60 million Brazilians are choosing plant-based foods

GFI just published the first study of consumer attitudes towards plant-based products in Brazil. Nearly 30 percent of participants reported moving towards reducing consumption of animal products or already being vegetarian.
Rio de janeiro

This post was written in collaboration with GFI Research Coordinator Felipe Krelling.

Brazil is known worldwide as the land of barbecue and soccer. And soccer with barbecue is even better! Recently, however, Brazilians have been developing new interests. (Don’t worry, not in sports—soccer is still king!) Shifting eating habits across the country are fueling the development of a plant-based market.

Currently, Brazil is home to one of the largest animal agriculture industries in the world, which has been one of the leading drivers of deforestation of the Amazon. Simultaneously, however, Brazil is the world’s fifth largest market for healthy food, and this market has been growing at a rate of 20 percent per year. Brazil represents both an urgent priority and a phenomenal opportunity for food innovation within the plant-based market.

In July and August of 2018, GFI conducted the first study of consumer attitudes toward plant-based products in Brazil. With over nine thousand participants, the study was designed to assess whether the increasing consumer interest in plant-based foods that has been observed in other countries is also occurring in Brazil. This study also gathered data about consumer motivations to inform further industry development.

The results are impressive!

Nearly 30 percent of respondents reported that they are moving toward reducing their consumption of animal products or are already vegetarian. This indicates that the Brazilian plant-based market has a potential reach of 60 million interested eaters.

This study also showed that 76 percent of people surveyed consider reducing consumption of animal products a positive step—even if they themselves aren’t reducing their consumption. The main factors preventing them from reducing consumption include habit and the perceived practicality of animal products.

We inquired about the motivations for people who were either reducing or eliminating animal products. For both vegetarians and reducetarians, health was the primary factor, followed by concern for animals. About 50 percent of vegetarians and 70 percent of reducetarians are cutting back on animal products to be healthier or to address allergies and intolerances.

Our research results also corroborated another internationally-observed pattern: taste, price, and convenience are the main factors determining consumer behavior. People choose products that are tasty, sold at a competitive price, and available where they already shop.

Finally, we investigated which of these products consumers are most eager to see on supermarkets shelves. There is significant white space in all categories, but Brazilians crave red meat alternatives first and foremost.

Currently, there are few plant-based products available for Brazilian consumers: this market represents tremendous untapped opportunity. The Good Food Institute-Brazil is focused on helping entrepreneurs and companies capitalize on this potential.

So far in 2018, GFI-Brazil has supported more than 50 entrepreneurs and advised ten companies in the plant-based sector. GFI’s work has informed large food companies and even retailers. With this study, we aim to provide additional valuable data to entrepreneurs, producers, and retailers about the growing appetite for plant-based products in Brazil.

Explore the insights from our research at this link.

Although Brazil won’t stop being the country of soccer and barbecue, Brazilians are increasingly interested in plant-based barbecue! The time is right for companies to expand their offerings into the plant-based market and meet the growing demand in Brazil.


Gus guadagnini


Gus Guadagnini leads GFI Brazil, building partnerships with many of the world’s leading meat and agricultural companies. Areas of expertise: Brazil, plant-based proteins, entrepreneurship, startups, strategic planning, project management, marketing.