Germany’s Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, presented the 2023 Nutrition Report today, shedding light on evolving dietary trends and consumer preferences in Germany. This annual report, published by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), offers a comprehensive analysis of the nation’s nutritional landscape.
A prominent theme highlighted in the report is the growing concern for environmental sustainability in food choices. The study indicates a significant shift in dietary habits, with a decline in the daily consumption of meat. In 2015, 34% of respondents reported eating meat daily, whereas this year, only 20% of individuals reported daily meat consumption. This transformation is coupled with a notable uptick in the consumption of plant-based alternatives.
“[Germans] want to know what ingredients are in the food and that it is produced in an environmentally and climate-friendly way”
Minister Özdemir emphasized the increasing importance of transparency and environmental awareness among German consumers. He stated, “The topic of sustainability is important to more and more consumers: They want to know what ingredients are in the food and that it is produced in an environmentally and climate-friendly way.”
Younger generations lead the way
The report reveals that a majority of respondents, 53%, have purchased vegetarian or vegan alternatives to animal products at least once. Younger age groups, particularly those between 14 and 29 years old, are more inclined to incorporate these alternatives into their daily diets.
However, Özdemir highlighted, “It is also fitting that meat is served less often, and not just among younger people. For manufacturers and retailers, a plant-based diet has long since become a billion-dollar market, as the world’s largest food trade fair, Anuga has just shown again in Cologne.”
Awareness about plant-based options is widespread, with 96% of respondents acknowledging soy-based products like tofu. Similarly, significant proportions of respondents are aware of alternatives derived from cereals (87%) and other legumes, like lupins or peas (86%). Awareness of alternatives based on algae, nuts or almonds, and various fruits and vegetables also shows promising figures.
The report underscores the connection between consumer preferences and support for domestic agriculture, with 78 to 88% of those surveyed expressing the importance of regionally sourced products like eggs, bread, fruit, vegetables, meat, and sausages.
Minister Özdemir emphasized the BMEL’s aim to provide accessible and sustainable nutrition for all, regardless of income, education, or origin, with a forthcoming nutrition strategy set to be adopted by year-end. The strategy aims to diversify food options in institutions such as daycare centers, schools, and canteens while encouraging a broader availability of healthy and sustainable supermarket products.
“People want a good, healthy, and sustainable diet. What ends up on your plate is and remains a highly personal decision. Our nutrition strategy helps you have a real choice when it comes to eating,” concluded Özdemir.