Germany produced less meat and more vegan alternatives in 2020

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Germany manufactured less meat and more plant-based alternatives in 2020, as demand for vegan products soared.

The rise of plant-based eating in 2020 is reflected in newly released statistics from Germany’s Federal Statistics Office, which revealed that the country manufactured fewer meat products and a higher number of vegan alternatives in 2020, compared to the previous year.

The total value of meat products in Germany amounted to €38.6 billion (£33.2 billion) last year, which was a 4% decrease from 2019’s 10-year high, when the products had a value of €40.1 billion (£34.5 billion). In the same period, Germany’s plant-based meat sector boomed in 2020, producing nearly 39% more meat alternatives than in 2019.

Production for alt-meat rose from 60,400 tons to 83,700 tons, which Germany’s DW News described as the equivalent of nearly 12,000 fully grown African elephants. The value of the plant-based meat alternatives rose from €272.8 million (£234.9 million) to €374.9 million (£322.8 million), a 37% increase from 2019 to 2020.

This was the first time the Federal Statistics Office was able to calculate a two-year comparison between the two industries, as it only began collecting data from the alt-meat sector in 2019.

While schnitzels and sausages still outnumber vegan alternatives in store shelves by a big margin, Germany is seeing a long-term trend of reduced meat consumption, with 40% of the population reportedly cutting back on meat products last year.

In 1987, the average German household would consume 6.7kg of cooked meat in a month, not including sausages, cured and processed meats. But that has reduced to a third in 2020, with monthly meat consumption averaging at 2.3kg.

Statisticians think this decline in meat consumption and production could be related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdown saw more people across the world embrace a more vegan-forward diet, and Germany seems to be following that trend too. Additionally, some German meat production plants were forced to close down temporarily, as a result of ill-hygiene practices and coronavirus outbreaks among employees.

Anay Mridul
Anay Mridul
Anay is journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.