Politics & Law

Germany’s Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir Addresses Declining Meat Consumption

German meat consumption falls to an all-time low. Federal Minister Cem Özdemir suggests utilising new market opportunities.

The long-term trend of declining meat consumption continued in 2023. According to preliminary figures from the Federal Information Centre for Agriculture (BZL), per capita meat consumption fell by 430 grams to 51.6 kilograms. This is the lowest figure since records began.

Oat milk and veggie burgers offer market potential

The famously vegetarian Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, comments: “Germans are paying more attention to their health, the impact on the environment or the welfare of animals when it comes to their diet. Many people are eating less meat today, but more consciously – and all the figures suggest that the trend is continuing. Agriculture, trade and politics should jointly orientate themselves towards this reality in order to further develop animal husbandry in Germany in a future-proof manner. Surveys regularly show that consumers want higher standards in animal husbandry and would also be prepared to pay more for them. Of course, this requires a broader range of products and retailers have repeatedly made it clear that they will be focussing on higher forms of animal husbandry in the future.

“…farmers can make good money with plant-based alternatives”

“We should utilise the new market opportunities. Keeping fewer animals better – that’s what it’s all about. My task is to ensure good framework conditions for agriculture so that good meat continues to come from Germany in the future. We have taken decisive steps in this direction with the introduction of the state animal husbandry label and the federal programme for the restructuring of animal husbandry. We are starting with pig farming and supporting farms that want to keep their animals better.

“At the same time, we are focusing on the fact that farmers can make good money with plant-based alternatives alongside animal products. After all, oat milk and veggie burgers offer growing market potential for the domestic agriculture and food industry.”

German meat consumption chart 2024
© BLE 2024

Largest percentage decline in beef and veal

Beef and veal recorded the largest percentage decline: per capita consumption fell by almost five percent to 8.9 kilograms per person. The proportion of pork was also down in 2023. Here, the amount consumed fell by almost 600 grams to 27.5 kilograms per person. A quarter of the meat consumed is poultry meat, especially chicken. For poultry, there was an increase of around 900 grams per person in 2023. This meant that the per capita consumption of poultry meat in 2023 was 13.1 kilograms.

The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) cites changing diets and a general increase in awareness of the effects of high meat consumption on our own health, the climate and the environment as possible reasons for the decline in meat consumption.

Sources
https://www.ble.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/DE/2024/240404_Fleischbilanz.html

https://www.bmel.de/SharedDocs/Meldungen/DE/Presse/2024/240404-sinkender-fleischverzehr-2023.html

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