The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has offered Kraft Heinz $1.5 million to turn Oscar Mayer, a processed meat brand Kraft Heinz is considering selling, into a plant-based food manufacturer. However, the $1.5 million offer is well below the likely sale price, which could reach $5 billion, so it is unlikely it will be accepted. 

Dr Neal Barnard, president of PCRM, said in a statement, “Americans’ interest in consuming animal products is waning and their interest in plant-based foods increasing, so this is the perfect time [for Kraft Heinz] to sell… Approving the sale of Oscar Mayer for $1.5 million to transition it to focus on the manufacture of plant-based foods will go a long way toward curbing US cancer statistics.”

The American Cancer Society (ACS) predicts that in 2024 the US will see over 2 million new cancer cases and over 600,000 cancer deaths. The World Health Organisation has classed processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans”, which means there is sufficient convincing evidence that it causes cancer in humans. 

Oscar Mayer, which makes hotdogs, bacon, cold cuts, and scrambled eggs, was acquired by Kraft Heinz in the 1980s, about 100 years after it was founded. In 2024, the company will partner with NotCo to sell its plant-based hot dogs and sausages, but unless it is bought by a vegan organisation the profits of such sales will end up fuelling animal exploitation, and this is why many vegans would not buy them. PCRM’s move to buy this company is, therefore, a good strategic step, because it can prevent Oscar Mayer’s plant-based products from attracting plant-based people’s money, who otherwise would have given it to vegan companies. Big meat corporations selling tokenistic plant-based products at a cheaper price than vegan companies is a big problem for the vegan movement, as it diverts vegans’ funds to animal exploitation and prevents small vegan businesses from prospering.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.