Veganism rising in Germany, USDA says
A country commonly associated with meat-based dishes, Germany now has the highest rate of vegetarianism in Europe, with veganism quickly rising to over 1.5 million according to a recent report by the USDA.
Germany is the second largest importer and third largest exporter of consumer oriented agricultural products worldwide, and by far, the most important European market for exporters.
Imports of agricultural products increased by 7.7% to US$108 billion in 2021. Of that, $76 billion were consumer-oriented agricultural products.
Overall, Germany is a net importer of all major categories of food products. Grocery retail sales reached a record high of over $300 billion in 2021.
The rise in preference for vegan options to animal products also comes with a decline in the consumption of dairy.
“Per capita consumption of cow's milk in 2021 was 105 pounds, down more than 4% from the previous year. For butter, milk fat, and milk fat spread products, consumption fell by over 3% to 13 pounds,” the report stated.
Aside from the generational factor, which according to the entity is driving this trend, labeling has also played a huge part in the rise of veganism.
Germany has gone so far as to create legal definitions of vegan and vegetarian for food labeling.
According to the report, published on Jan. 25, to be defined as vegan, “foods must not be of animal origin or contain ingredients, processing aides, or other substances of any animal origin”.