Germans ditch pork as Vaterland goes veggie
By AGNIESZKA DE SOUSA AND TINO ANDRESEN | Bloomberg
via Stars and Stripes - July 15, 2017
The nation that gave the world Bratwurst and hot dogs is cutting back on its favorite pork sausages and filling its plates with more veggie concoctions instead.
Germans last year consumed the smallest amount of pig meat since at least 2005, and the drop will continue in 2017, according to Agriculture Market Information Co. in Bonn. In Europe's largest hog-producing and pork-eating nation, ham and sausage demand has dropped for at least three straight years.
Pork still accounts for more than half the meat eaten in the continent's top economy, but it's losing market share to poultry and beef and competing more with vegetarian options at shops and restaurants. The shift reflects changing German attitudes about healthier diets and climate-friendly, sustainable food production. There's also been an influx of refugees who don't eat pork.
"While there continues to be a lot of appetite for pork dishes, we adapt our menu," said Christoph Wagemann, the head of procurement and controlling at the 167-year-old Zum Schluessel beer hall in Dusseldorf's old town, which now serves a vegan "chili con soja" along with traditional meat sausages. "Bigger groups will always have vegetarians or vegans."
Pork has a long history in Germany, which even boasts an entire museum dedicated to Currywurst — a cheap Cold War-era sausage that mixes meat with spiced ketchup. Domestic sausages come in more than 1,500 regional varieties, a vast majority of which are made with pork, according to the German Butchers' Association.
Total pork consumption in Germany has plunged 10 percent since 2011, to about 2 million tons last year, according to data compiled by researcher Euromonitor International. Over the same period, demand has increased in neighboring Poland, France and Austria.
On average, Germans ate about 36.2 kilograms of pork each last year, down from 40.1 kilos in 2011 and the lowest since AMI began tracking the data. The decline was so steep that it exceeds the increases for poultry and beef, which means overall meat consumption in the country dropped to 60 kilos, the lowest since 2006.
With consumers less enamored with pork, even traditional sausage makers are offering veggie options...