Veggie or meat for Christmas?

Our figure of the month for Christmas 2023


Less and less meat is being eaten in Germany. While meat was considered an indicator of prosperity in this country many years ago, as is currently the case in China, for example, its reputation and consumption have been falling noticeably for some time now. Domestic demand is declining and production is also falling significantly. The declining trend is clearly visible in the data from the Federal Statistical Office's production survey on the processing of meat and meat products. While the production of processed meat intended for sale was still at 2044 million tons in the first half of 2019, the volume in the first half of 2023 is around 21% lower at 1619 million tons (see turquoise bars, left axis in the figure).

At the same time, interest in vegetarian alternatives is growing in this country. The meat industry has been making the switch for some time now and is expanding its mainstay with vegetarian meat alternatives. In the first half of 2019, around 29 million tons of vegetarian and vegan food preparations, such as vegetarian spreads, tofu products and vegetarian or vegan foods that appear to resemble sausage, were produced. In the first half of 2023, the volume produced was already around 90% higher at 55.5 million tons (see orange line, right axis in the figure).

A decrease in processed meat of around 425 million tons in the period mentioned is offset by an increase of a good 26 million tons of vegetarian and vegan alternatives. Not every sausage is replaced by a vegetarian alternative. Instead, other meat-free products are often simply consumed - vegetables, fruit, cereals and pulses in particular are at the top of the popularity scale for vegetarian diets. The change within the meat processing industry is clear to see. The reasons for this are complex and often have an ecological or health-related background on the part of consumers.

At Christmas, one or the other households may also serve a vegetarian alternative instead of roast meat. Cheers and happy holidays!

Other figures can be found here.

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