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.