ProVeg International, the global NGO campaigning for ‘food system change’, has welcomed new data showing a record decline in German meat consumption as more people shift to healthier, climate-friendly diets.
The figures from The Federal Information Centre for Agriculture (BZL) reveal per capita consumption of meat fell by 4.2 kilograms between 2021 and 2022 to stand at 52 kilograms, the lowest volume BZL has recorded since it started collating records in 1989.
This is good news for the environment, for people’s health and, of course, for animals
“We are really pleased to see the continued decline in meat consumption in Germany, which has been helped by people following flexitarian diets,” says Jasmijn de Boo, ProVeg Vice President. “This is good news for the environment, for people’s health and, of course, for animals.
“Animal agriculture is responsible for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, along with widespread deforestation, and the pollution of waterways. It is imperative that policies are implemented to ensure that the trend seen in Germany is replicated elsewhere.”
A study published in March 2023 revealed that high methane producing foods like meat and dairy products will push the planet past the 1.5C international target by the end of the century if left unchecked.
Germany’s Bonn University stated in a study published in April 2022 that rich countries will need to reduce their meat consumption by up to 75% to meet those international climate targets and to avoid ecosystem collapse.
“We can no longer ignore the need to significantly transform the food system to ensure a more sustainable future for all, and the good news is that the solutions are already out there to reduce meat and dairy consumption by encouraging a flexitarian diet,” de Boo said.
Public procurement of plant-based foods, policies that encourage the growth of the plant-based industry, investment in alternative protein product research and innovation, and incentives for farmers to transition away from meat and dairy production are among the actions urgently needed to avoid climate breakdown, de Boo added.
Europe’s plant-based market is growing
Meanwhile, separate data compiled by Nielsen and published by GFI Europe this week shows sales of plant-based foods in Europe have grown 6% in 2022 – and 22% since 2020 – to reach €5.7 billion.
Germany has the highest plant-based food sales value in Europe, but the Netherlands has the highest average plant-based food spend per capita, according to the report.