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Food trends

Meat consumption in Germany hits record low for first time in over three decades, report finds

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2 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
beer, pretzel, sausage, stewed cabbage, potato salad, half of chicken and ribs on wooden board

Meat consumption in Germany has dropped to its lowest level in over 30 years, according to new data from the country’s Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE).

Germans consumed 52kg of meat per head last year, which is 4.2kg less than the year before, and the lowest amount recorded since such data started being collected in 1989.

According to the figures, Germans ate almost 3kg less pork, 900 grams less beef and veal, and 400 grams less poultry in 2022.

Meat production levels have suffered due to the decline in the demand, with nearly 10% less pork and 8.2% less beef and veal being produced in the country last year in comparison to 2021.

The latest figures also show that domestic meat production in 2022 met 116% of the market demand, while domestic production of poultry met 97.4% of the demands.

Waning consumption has already impacted some meat production companies in the country. Earlier this year, meat supplier Danish Crown announced the closure of its 200-employee facility in Germany in light of dwindling pork consumption and the decline in numbers of slaughtered animals.

Lowering meat consumption in Germany has been a major target for the country’s Federal Minister for Health, Karl Lauterbach. In an interview with Der Spiegel earlier this year he said cutting meat consumption by 80% would be key to meeting sustainability targets. He also recommended subsidising alternative protein products and introducing a tax on meat to make it easier for Germans to limit their consumption.

Meat consumption habits are not just changing in Germany but across Europe too, with plant-based foods seeing a record rise in sales in Europe between 2020-2022. Unit sales grew 21% in the plant-based meat category in comparison to traditional meat sales which went down by 8%.

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