German ‘record decline’ in meat consumption is described as a ‘clear sign of progress’

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  7th April 2023

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German meat consumption continues to decline as more people shift to 'healthier, climate-friendly diets', according to data released this week


The ongoing decline in German meat consumption has been described as a ‘clear sign of progress’ when it comes to tackling the climate crisis.

According to the data, published by Germany’s Federal Information Centre for Agriculture (BZL), per capita consumption of meat fell by 4.2 kilograms in 2022.

Per capita consumption currently stands at 52 kilograms – the lowest since records began in 1989.

Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of global food awareness organisation ProVeg says the decline is partly down to people adopting more flexitarian diets.

She said: “We’re really pleased to see the continued decline in meat consumption in Germany, which has been helped by people following flexitarian diets.

“This is good news for the environment, for people’s health and, of course, for animals. Animal agriculture is responsible for about 20 per cent 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.”

German meat consumption

According to de Boo, there is a significant need to overhaul the food system if we are to fight climate change and ensure a more sustainable future.

ProVeg cited a March 2023 study showing how ‘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’.

An earlier German study, published by Bonn University in April 2022, noted that ‘rich countries will need to reduce their meat consumption by up to 75 per cent’ to meet those international climate targets and to avoid ecosystem collapse.’

Speaking about the connection between animal agriculture and the environment, de Boo said: “We can no longer ignore the need to significantly transform the food system to ensure a more sustainable future for all.”

She added that the good news is that ‘the solutions are already out there to reduce meat and dairy consumption by encouraging a flexitarian diet’.

Among her suggestions on how to create widespread food system change were public procurement of plant-based foods and policies that encourage the growth of the plant-based industry.

ProVeg has also called for investment in alternative protein product research and innovation, and incentives for farmers to transition away from meat and dairy production.

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Featured image © Robert Ruidl via Adobe Stock

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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