Salvador, Brazil to Serve 10 Million Plant-Based School Meals Per Year

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH
Brazil school

Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series

Policy name: Educating for Sustainability

Overview: An agreement between Humane Society International, Mercy for Animals, and the Salvador municipality in Brazil will ensure that 10 million plant-based school meals will be served each year in Salvador.

Location: Salvador, Brazil

Population: 170,000 students

Food policy category: Nutrition, Sustainability, Climate Change

Program goals: To provide more nutritious school food options for students, and to reduce carbon emissions. 

How it works: Participating municipal schools will be able to offer students plant-based meals at no extra cost to the school. Each school will receive training in nutrition and environmental education and a dedicated team of nutritionists, chefs, and menu developers to support them in carrying out the new initiative. Recipes that replace meat with more legumes, grains, fruits, and vegetables have been developed through the National School Feeding Program according to student preferences and the culture of the region.

Progress to date: The agreement was signed on March 22, 2022, and will be implemented in all 444 schools in the municipality starting in August 2022. 

Why it is important: Municipal school children in Brazil, who are primarily members of the poorest socioeconomic bracket, do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, and typically get their protein from animal sources, according to Municipal Secretary of Education, Marcelo Oliveira. A primary goal of the program is to form healthy, sustainable eating habits among school children that can be maintained into adulthood.

Plant-based diets are linked to a reduced risk of chronic conditions, and children who consume a plant-based diet are less likely to develop obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. 

The program is also designed to protect the environment and create a more sustainable food system. Plant-based food production results in much lower rates of greenhouse gas emissions than does animal-based food production. For example, one kilogram of meat produces 60 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, while one kilogram of peas releases only one kilogram of emissions

Soy, 70 to 75 percent of which is used as animal feed, and beef production are the leading causes of tropical deforestation, a particularly dire issue in the Amazon rainforest that covers much of Brazil. 

It is estimated that the program will eliminate 75,000 tons of carbon emissions, save 400 million liters of water, and preserve 16,000 hectares (39,520 acres) of forest

Point of contact: 
Leandro Becker, Communication Director, Mercy for Animals
Phone:  +5511 95339-8734

Thayana Oliveira, Food Policy Manager, Humane Society International
Phone: +5531 98484-4890

Similar practices: In February 2022, New York City introduced Plant-Powered Fridays, when the main meal served in school cafeterias is vegan. Plant Based School Kitchens is an organization working towards implementing plant-based, gluten-free kitchens in all UK schools.  

Evaluation: Evaluation has not yet been conducted. 

Learn more:


Photo credit: Enaldo Pinto

Related Articles

Subscribe To Weekly NYC Food Policy Watch Newsletter
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news, reports and event information
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.