Every year, with the exception of pandemic-related cancellations, the German city of Munich plays host to the Oktoberfest. It started way back in the 1800s and has become a long-standing Bavarian tradition, complete with plenty of beer and a lot of meat. But as time goes on, the event is becoming increasingly vegan-friendly.
While meaty staples like roast chicken and bratwurst, as well as fried fish, are still available in abundance, “the options for vegetarians and vegans are increasing year by year,” reads the official Oktoberfest website.
Traditional dishes like salted radish, spaetzle, and pretzels have always been vegetarian. But the event is adding more variety with choices like soy steak, organic sauerkraut strudel, and pan-fried vegetables with tomato puree.
Plus, the event’s snack stands now offer dishes like vegan meatloaf and pea schnitzel.
Oktoberfest maintains that “everyone who doesn’t eat meat is guaranteed to be satisfied.” The website adds: “In general, the number of Wiesn delicacies without animal products has risen sharply in recent years.”
Germany slows down on meat consumption
The changing menu at Oktoberfest, which is known by locals as Wiesn, reflects a wider shift in Germany.
The country has always had a reputation for loving meat, but lately, things seem to be changing. In fact, it is one of the few countries around the world that has actually shown a drop in meat consumption.
Now, the average German citizen eats around 121 pounds of animal protein per year. But in 2011, it was more like 138 pounds per year.
In March, one survey by ProVeg International suggested that 10 percent of Germans do not eat meat at all, while 30 percent follow a flexitarian diet.
Matthias Rohra, ProVeg’s executive director for Germany, said that the findings “highlight the growing desire among the German population to diversify their diet away from meat and dairy.”
He added that it also demonstrates “tremendous potential for plant-based foods” in the country.
If you’re eager to sample some meat-free Bavarian delights, Oktoberfest begins on September 17 and will run until October 3.