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Meat consumption in Germany - statistics & facts

Meat consumption in Germany has changed in recent decades. This relates to fluctuating consumption levels for traditional mainstays of German cuisine, pork being one famous example, as well as different consumer decisions due to the emergence of new products such as meat substitutes. Meat consumption is also made up of not only consumption by humans, but of using meat in animal feed and losses due to industrial processing. Much is being said and written about the negative health effects of eating red meat. Coupled with growing consumer awareness of how livestock and poultry are not always kept in animal-friendly conditions, or just how the meat industry uses natural resources, meat consumption has long since become a topic connected to a multitude of issues beyond just buying and eating: environmental protection, sustainability, climate change, farming, and animal rights.

The amount of meat consumed in Germany has changed significantly since the 1990s, reaching its so far lowest point in 2021. Consumption peaked in 1993 at over 7.73 thousand tons of dressed weight and dropped to 7.02 thousand in 2020. This could be due to the reasons mentioned above, as well as an increasing variety of other products sold in food retail which claim to be sources of protein. One of the leading arguments around the Yes or No of meat consumption is whether it is at all necessary to consume meat if consumers can get the protein they need from other food products, thus contributing to less pressure on the resources needed for meat production. Pork was still the most consumed type of meat in Germany, followed by poultry, then beef and veal.

In 2021, most consumers in Germany bought fresh meat from the counter several times a month. The smallest share did so daily, though this figure has increased compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, the largest number of consumers bought fresh sausage several times a week, which corresponds with the popularity this particular meat product continues to enjoy in the country. Buying fresh meat may be a guarantee for better quality due to appropriate origins, and therefore contribute to reaching individual sustainable consumption goals. In fact, based on a survey conducted in 2021, 42 percent of German consumers were willing to pay up to 15 euros for one kilogram of meat produced sustainably.


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