A rising number of people in Germany are pushing meat aside in favor of vegan and vegetarian food, a new market report has highlighted. In fact, 51 percent of Germans say they have reduced their meat consumption in the past year.
ProVeg International, which describes itself as a food awareness organization, compiled the report. It’s based on data from a Europe-wide sales analysis, as well as a European consumer survey which included 7,690 respondents, 757 of whom live in Germany.
The research revealed that one in ten German consumers do not eat meat at all, instead adhering to either vegetarian or completely plant-based diets. Another 30 percent of identify as flexitarian.
And it’s not just animal meat that is falling out of favor; around a third (32 percent) of Germans intend on consuming fewer dairy products in the next six months, ProVeg found. This is part of the reason that the country’s plant-based dairy sector is considered one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in Europe.
“This market report highlights the growing desire among the German population to diversify their diet away from meat and dairy products and to try out alternative options,” Matthias Rohra, Executive Director Germany at ProVeg International, said.
It’s a trend that has been noted in other research too. For instance, according to Germany’s Federal Centre for Agriculture (BZL), meat intake per capita was lower in 2020 than at any other point since consumption first began being calculated in 1989.
Meat consumption in Europe
Rohra continued: “It also shows there is tremendous potential for plant-based foods in Germany and across Europe and we hope companies will be encouraged to develop more and better products.”
Indeed, the findings are not exclusive to Germany; various other European countries are seeing similar departures from the meat sector.
Last month, ProVeg reported that one in five Dutch people support a ban on slaughterhouses, while 60 percent want to see intensive livestock farming banned. Moreover, 72 percent believe people should eat fewer animals.
Additionally, 28 percent of Dutch respondents said they hope that animals will not be used for food at all in the future.
In Belgium, overall meat consumption dropped by 8.9 percent between 2010 and 2019, according to Statbel data. Beef intake, in particular, fell by 19.5 percent.
Meanwhile, in the UK, rates of meat-eating fell by 17 percent during a similar timeframe, The Conversation discovered last year.
Looking at Europe as a whole, just shy of half (46 percent) of all European consumers say they eat less animal meat now than they did a year ago, ProVeg found.
Health concerns, animal welfare considerations, and a desire to eat sustainably are some of the factors influencing the change, the report says.