Germany: International Number 1 in Vegan Product Launches 2017/2018

© Mintel Group Ltd

The vegan movement in Germany is changing the world of food. This is evidenced by a recently published Mintel study. The international market research institute investigated which countries had the highest share of global vegan food and beverage launches from July 2017 to June 2018. Germany led the field.

Whereas in 2013 only about 4 percent of new foods and beverages were classified as vegan, this number has more than tripled in the last 5 years. In the German market, the share of vegan product launches (14%) overtook their vegetarian counterparts (8%), which recorded almost half as many new launches. In an international comparison, Germany accounts for as many as 15 percent of global food and beverage launches, putting it at the top.

However, vegan product launches generally increased not just in Germany but also globally. Although from July 2017 to June 2018 there were more vegetarian product launches globally (11%) than vegan (5%), the number of vegan launches has doubled over the last 5 years (+175%). In the international rankings, Great Britain came second with 14 percent of vegan product launches, followed by the United States (12%), France & Spain (4% each) and Australia, Italy, Canada, Austria and Brazil with a 3% share each.

Global Food & Drink analyst Katya Witham of Mintel commented on the development as follows: “In recent years, consumers have shown an increasing interest in plant-based foods. Mintel research shows that although stricter plant-based diets like veganism appeal only to a small proportion of the population, a much higher percentage of consumers follow a ‘flexitarian’ diet – that is, they do not completely give up meat, but increasingly include plant-based products in their diets. This opens up opportunities for manufacturers to invest more in innovative plant-based foods and beverages. In addition, the rapid growth of vegan products in Germany also reflects an increase in ethical consumption, especially amongst younger consumers. Products without animal ingredients are not just popular with vegans and vegetarians, but are widely accepted as being part of a healthy and varied diet. Food and beverage manufacturers have the opportunity to take the next step by marketing their products with healthy and environmentally-friendly descriptions. This will appeal to consumers who are looking for more transparency, but also to a wider target group”.

This development is also reflected in the purchasing behaviour of consumers. For example, 20 percent of 16 to 24-year-old Germans surveyed said they had bought meat alternatives in the three months before taking part in the Mintel survey. Half of the consumers surveyed are convinced that plant-based proteins are just as nutritious as animal proteins. In addition, 17 percent of the participants prefer the taste of plant-based protein to animal protein, which is also reflected in the sales figures. Amongst other things, the opening of vegan departments in supermarkets, vegan butcher shops and new services for improved product availability are also contributing to this increase.