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October 04, 2019 - The Vegan Authority

ARGENTINA: Veganism making inroads to a meat-centric nation

ARGENTINA: Veganism making inroads to a meat-centric nation
Argentine GuachoFile Photo / © Photabulous!

In Argentina, animal meat is concidered to be more than a carnist foodstuff, it is a tradition, considered a staple of the gaucho kitchen, the very symbol of the Pampas, fertile South American lowlands.

But the future is vegan, Silvia Retamar insists, a Paris-trained patissiere who offers plant-based delicacies to her Buenos Aires customers. "We're all becoming conscious about food, about animal rights, and about the environment. I changed my diet because I realised how much suffering we humans cause, but it's also better for you. Meat used be all about machismo, but even that's changing."

Meat from animals is 'thought' to be manly, which is possibly why women are leading the latest vegan movement in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires. Across the city, veggie ventures are sprouting up like so many shoots of cress, tempting diners towards a healthier, cleaner, greener diet. Whatever the time of day, wherever you are, you can now get a non-meat alternative.

Significantly, the move to a veganism and plant-based eating is also happening at the heart of the Argentine state. In July 2017, the Casa Rosada - the Argentine office of the president - trialled Lunes Vegano, or meat-free Mondays, at the staff canteen. And this year, the Casa Rosada plans to bring it back on a permanent basis. "A chalkboard outside the canteen last year read: "Meat-free Monday: it improves your health, challenges you to do something new, it's good for the planet. Eat vegetables. Eat differently," reported The Independent.

So what does the future hold?

For all the plant-based entrepreneurialism, there's some way to go to change Argentina's habits. Argentines are still in the top tier of meat eaters, consuming on average 90.7kg per person of per year, according to 2016 figures from the OECD. But it is estimated that 1-2 per cent of Argentines are vegan and perhaps 4-5 per cent vegetarian".

It is a start.

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