Pork or tofu sausage, neck steak or seitan schnitzel? This question is apparently being answered by more and more consumers in favour of the vegetarian or vegan alternative.
In 2020, companies in this country produced almost 39 % more meat substitutes compared to the previous year: production rose from just under 60.4 thousand tonnes to a good 83.7 thousand tonnes, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). The value of these products increased in the same period from 272.8 million euros to 374.9 million euros (+37 %). This data has only been collected since 2019, so a comparison with the previous year is now possible for the first time.
The value of meat has fallen compared to the previous year
Despite this increase, the value of meat substitutes is relatively low compared to meat products. The value of meat and meat products produced in Germany amounted to around 38.6 billion euros in 2020 – more than one hundred times the value of meat substitutes. Compared to the previous year, however, the value of meat produced fell by around 4 %. In 2019, the value of meat production in Germany had reached 40.1 billion euros, the highest value in ten years. Among other things, the pandemic may have contributed to the recent decline: Some production plants had to close temporarily, for example, due to violations of hygiene protection regulations and high infection rates among employees.
Meat consumption in Germany fell sharply between 1978 and 2018
In the long term, however, the consumption of meat for cooking or frying has declined significantly in Germany. In 1978, a household consumed an average of a good 6.7 kilograms of meat per month – not including sausages, smoked and dried meat or other preserved, processed meat. 40 years later, it was only about a third of that amount, at around 2.3 kilograms. The consumption of pork fell particularly sharply: while a household still consumed an average of 3.1 kilograms per month in 1978, it was just under 900 grams in 2018. Beef consumption fell from 1.5 kilograms to 600 grams, and poultry from 1.3 kilograms to just over 800 grams.