Something new on the menu
These mouthwatering growth rates come with the steady decline of meat consumption in Germany since the late 1970s. It fell to 57.3 kilograms per capita in 2020, down 750 grams from 2019, according to the German Institute for Economic Research.
“Plant-based meat and milk products have achieved footholds in supermarkets, discounters and the hospitality sector, and this translates into enormous sales potential both for domestic and foreign companies,” says GTAI’s food and nutrition expert Daniel Lindel. “Vegan food will very soon be leaving its niches and become mainstream, and we assume the dynamics will mirror those Germany witnessed with organic products a decade ago.”
So, what’s driving this trend in a traditionally meat-loving country? Surveys indicate many reasons for changing German consumer preferences, ranging from wariness of antibiotics used in animal husbandry to outrage over the plight of migrant workers toiling away in meat processing factories. The meat and feedstock industries’ poor CO2 track record is also a factor, as are animal welfare concerns.
Moreover, an EU-wide survey by ProVeg International, an NGO working in the field of food-system change, found that health benefits, brand trust, curiosity and, last but not least, taste are also leading people to cut back on or give up meat. When asked which veggie products they would like to see more of on supermarket shelves, respondents said, above all, plant-based cheese and also ready meals. There was a clear distinction between “reducers,” who would like to see more meat substitutes, and plant-based eaters, who want more plant-based baked goods and chocolate.