Wally Fry

Photo credit: Fry Family Foods

Wally Fry is a South African businessman and a godfather of meat alternatives. Wally is the founder and CEO of Fry Family Food, who have been creating plant-based meat alternatives since 1991 and whose products can be found all over the world.

However, twenty yeats ago Wally might have seemed unlikely to start his own vegan food business. Before launching Fry Family Food, Wally was actually working in the animal agriculture industry. Wally was once a goat herder and sold the goats from the family’s farm in rural Zululand.1Fry Family Food. 2021. Wally Fry. Available: https://fryfamilyfood.com/de/wally-fry/ [Accessed 21 September 2021]. Later he started a construction business and it was after building an industrial piggery that he had a change of heart. After completing the project he foresaw the thousands of pigs who would be imprisoned on the farm and “something inside [him] broke.”2Fox, K. 2018. Meet The Former Livestock Agent Who Started An International Vegan Food Business. Forbes. Available: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katrinafox/2018/06/20/meet-the-former-livestock-agent-who-started-an-international-vegan-food-business/ [Accessed 21 September 2021].

Despite Wally’s involvement in the animal agriculture industry, his wife was a vegetarian and they’d even been raising their daughter as a vegetarian since birth. Together they started experimenting in the kitchen to create tasty protein-packed alternatives to meat and the seeds of Wally’s new business were sown. Fry Family Food isn’t just a cute marketable name, it’s a true story. Soon Fry’s products were in great demand and the business expanded exponentially.

Wally is a shining example of how someone once entrenched in animal agriculture can completely turn their life around. Wally transitioned from meat-eater to vegetarian to vegan, and is now “well known for his determination in highlighting the detrimental impact that the meat, fish, poultry and dairy industries currently have on the planet.”

As a meat eater I didn’t know any better. I didn’t realize animals could suffer. For me it was just about the money. After seeing the inside of the piggery I’d built, I couldn’t stand by anymore. Everything Debbie and Tammy stood for became clear: All life was precious and I could live without sacrificing the life of another.

Focus on something that will benefit the greater good, be passionate about this and it will stand you in good stead. I bought and sold thousands of animals for slaughter as a livestock agent, and I’ve spent the past 28 years doing penance and trying to make a difference. I feel like I’ve been chosen to do this work.