The fact of the matter is that plant-based foods have taken over the world, and that includes the African continent. Despite the fact that most South Africans do regularly eat meat, the plant-based business is booming.
Regardless of whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or just someone who enjoys plant-based meats, chances are that you’ve heard of Fry Family Foods. Born in a small kitchen, Wally Fry began creating meat alternatives or plant-based meats for just the family, and it wasn’t long before they decided to share their delicious recipes with the rest of the world. In fact, just before the pandemic shut the world down, Fry Family Foods signed an amazing deal with US-based company LIVEKINDLY Co, which would take their products into the US and further.
In a series called The Business of Health, hosted on the Nielsen Network, Longevity Live spoke to Tammy Fry, the daughter of Wally Fry as well as the Global Head of Marketing for Fry Family Foods. We discussed the growth of plant-based foods and businesses.
It’s a Plant-Based World
“While we care deeply about our company, we care more about what our company does,” explains Fry. adding that the purpose of the company is to make the world a better place, essentially for animals, humanity, and mother earth. “Our approach towards our purpose is to help provide alternatives for meat that look and taste like meat. We want to help assist them with the transition towards a more conscious lifestyle that helps them tread lighter on the planet.”
According to Fry, meeting LIVEKINDLY was great as their vision was the Fry’s family vision continued. They had both like-minded ethos and value systems. Fry Family Foods joined a collective of other plant-based brands whose aim was to do the right thing and continue the value system.
A standout product
Now as more and more consumers turn to plant-based foods, more and more plant-based products are popping up. This then raises the question of what sets the products apart?
“We truly are purpose-driven so we enjoy the competition. The more producers of plant-based meats that they are, the better for plant-based living and for people transitioning to a plant-based diet”
Fry Family Foods stands out from other plant-based food businesses because they are authentically real.
“Our family started doing this long before anyone else was doing it. We were pioneering the plant-based meat market 30 years ago and there were no other plant-based meat brands at the time” says Fry, “We were doing it because we were driven by our purpose as a family and not because we were jumping onto a bandwagon.”
Plant-based in a pandemic
Many businesses were unfortunately affected by the pandemic. Luckily, Fry Family Foods was fortunate enough to not be one of them.
“Not only have we been fully operational, but also been expanding and extending our facilities,” says Fry. “I think we are in an essential sector. The food sector is an essential sector and plant-based food is a growing sector, so we’ve actually had incredible growth.”
How healthy are plant-based meats?
Unfortunately, while plant-based meats are meant to be healthy, a lot of them contain ingredients that can make them as unhealthy as red meat. Thankfully, Fry products are excluded from this harmful list.
“Looking at the Fry product ingredient labels, we have one of the cleanest plant-based meats in the world,” says Fry. She highlights how there are a lot of additives are added to some plant-based meat products. In fact, many are added to the chilled meat section. This is where the food has to last a certain period of time in the chiller before it goes off. “Retailers demand 20-40 days of self-life. So to keep food safe for that period of time, you do need to add preservatives and certain additives.”
That said, Fry products are in the chilled section sets of any supermarkets. They won’t have to compromise on the type of ingredients that they want to use in their products.
“Consumers are going to have to read labels and really start to educate themselves. Food plays a huge role in mitigating the explosion of more lifestyle diseases, so as consumers, we need to be more responsible and learn more about what we put in our mouths.”
Watch the video
The video interview contains the full dialogue of this interview, and you can watch it below.