Plant-Based Meat Maker Heura Sparks Controversy With Giant Madrid Billboard

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December 11 2020 Update: Heura’s took down its Madrid billboard after the company shared it is being sued by major Spanish meat industry associations because of the advert’s provocative message. In response to the suit, Heura Co-Founder & CEO Bernat Añaños said “We hope that we can utilise this moment to begin a dialogue between all parts of the food industry to figure out how we can ensure a sustainable, healthy and ethical food system. We do not want to start a confrontation with anyone. As proud food activists, we want to be part of the transformation that the sector so desperately requires, and we want to do it without leaving anyone behind.”

Spanish plant-based meat brand Heura has just launched a new campaign to spotlight the enormous pollution driven by the animal meat industry. The advertisement, exhibited on a giant billboard in central Madrid, brandishes the words “one beef burger pollutes more than your car” to encourage consumers to opt for more sustainable alternative proteins in order to take action on climate change. 

Barcelona-based Heura has recently started a new campaign in the Spanish capital of Madrid to get consumers thinking about the footprint of our plates. The new provocative billboard ad, located in the centre of the city, highlights the role of the livestock industry as a major driver of climate change. 

Not only bringing attention to the equivalent emissions that one beef burger generates compared to driving a car, the campaign reads: “We have reduced air pollution by changing the way we travel. Why not change the way we eat next?”

In small print, the billboard also offers the alarming statistics showcasing just how carbon-intensive the meat industry is. “Releasing over 32,000 million tonnes of CO2, the livestock industry is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, followed by transportation.”

We want people to consider how the food that they put into their body impacts the planet, and to understand that they as consumers have immense power to upend the status quo by seeking out products that positively impact the world around them.

Marc Coloma, Co-Founder & CEO of Heura

Previous United Nations figures have highlighted that animal agriculture as a whole drives around 18% of global greenhouse gases, which tops all types of transportation combined. To compare, the aviation sector – an industry widely known to be environmentally polluting – is responsible for around 2% of global emissions. 

A recent study has shown that the single most impactful action that consumers can take to reduce our carbon footprint is to opt for plant-based foods. Researchers from the University of Oxford and Minnesota calculate that a “nearly complete” global shift to plant-rich diets could eliminate 650 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and reiterated that without this shift, slashing fossil fuels would still not be enough to avert climate disaster. 

Speaking about the brand’s new ad, Heura co-founder and CEO Marc Coloma said: “We want people to consider how the food that they put into their body impacts the planet, and to understand that they as consumers have immense power to upend the status quo by seeking out products that positively impact the world around them.” 

Co-founders of Heura Marc Coloma (L) and Bernat Añaños (R)

“Through this campaign, we aim to raise consciousness and advocate for a holistic approach to combating climate change. We want to urge consumers to recognise the immense power that they have to create a better future for our planet, and to think about how the choices that they make every day, from how they get to work to what they eat, impact our planet,” Coloma added. 

For instance, swapping out a traditional beef burger for a plant-based Heura burger – the newest version of which has been dubbed as the world’s healthiest – could save the equivalent carbon emissions of driving 26 kilometres. If a whole family of four decided to ditch beef burgers for the plant-based option, that would amount to the equivalent carbon savings of 104 kilometres. 

We want to urge consumers to recognise the immense power that they have to create a better future for our planet, and to think about how the choices that they make every day, from how they get to work to what they eat, impact our planet.

Marc Coloma, Co-Founder & CEO of Heura

Since its inception in 2017, founded by Coloma and Bernat Añaños, has expanded its presence to ten countries, including its native Spain, and France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Chile and most recently, the U.K., where its products are now retailing at two major specialty stores


All images courtesy of Heura.

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