Studies & Numbers

43% of German Consumers Have Reduced Their Meat Consumption in the Past Year

A new Mintel consumer study, Global Outlook on Sustainability, has provided some encouraging insights into the habits and attitudes of German consumers regarding meat consumption.

Just 22% of Germans said they ate meat at almost every meal, compared to 47% of French consumers and 51% of Brits. 43% said they had reduced their meat consumption in the past year, compared to an international average of 28%.

Furthermore, 37% of Germans believed that eating less meat was the most effective personal measure they could take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the highest proportion worldwide to hold this viewpoint (the international average was 21%). However, the number of consumers avoiding meat altogether remains low, with 2% identifying as vegan, 4% as vegetarian, and 18% as flexitarian.

This echoes worldwide patterns, with 17% of global consumers reducing their dairy consumption and 14% cutting down on meat (figures that are both on the rise). Additionally, 24% of consumers buy dairy alternatives and 15% buy meat alternatives on a weekly basis. Since most people choosing these products are not fully vegetarian or vegan, Mintel believes policies should focus on encouraging consumers to reduce their meat consumption rather than eliminate it altogether.

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Falling meat consumption

Meat consumption has been consistently falling in Germany for several years, with record lows recorded in 2021 and again in 2022. 2.8 kg less pork, 900 grams less beef and veal, and 400 grams less poultry were reportedly consumed last year, with domestic production of animal products also falling. Recently published figures indicate that 2.2 million fewer pigs were slaughtered in Germany in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year — a drop of 9.2%.

Furthermore, a report from earlier this year found that the retail value of meat alternatives had risen by 38% in Germany following the pandemic. In May, The Federal Statistical Office of Germany revealed that the country produced 6.5% more meat alternatives in 2022 compared to the previous year.

“Finding vegetarian and even vegan options is becoming easier in Germany — a land more commonly known for its sausages, schnitzel, and abundant meat-based dishes,” said a USDA report published in January. “Germany has the highest rate of vegetarianism compared to its European neighbors. Today, vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians set food trends and the market for plant-based food shows extraordinary growth rates.”

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