Meat production drops ‘significantly’ as Germans spurn the sausage

While consumption of meat in Germany has steadily been declining since 2011, last year meat production dropped significantly compared to the previous year. But some nutritionists say we are still eating too much flesh.

Meat production drops ‘significantly’ as Germans spurn the sausage
A butcher in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Following slight increases in recent years, in 2017, meat production in German slaughterhouses notably dropped by a 'significant' two percent compared to the previous year, reported the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on Wednesday.  

Last year a total of 8.11 million tonnes of meat were produced, whereas 2016, which was a record year, saw production of 8.28 million tonnes.

The latest Destatis figures also show that similar to in the past, pork is the top meat product consumed by Germans. Still, last year saw a drop in pork production as well as in beef, poultry and duck.

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Meanwhile Germans – who are known the world over for being meat-lovers – are also increasingly eating less totes Tier, according to the “Fleischatlas” report which was published in January. In 2016, they consumed 59 kilograms per person – down from 60,6 kilograms per person the previous year. 

The consumption of meat among Germans has steadily been declining since 2011, the report states, with the sharpest drop between 2015 and 2016.

But according to the Fleischatlas, which is a joint project carried out by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation and newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique, meat consumption in Deutschland is still too high. The project organizers have been calling on Germans to significantly reduce their meat consumption and reduction in livestock numbers.

The German Society for Nutrition recommends a maximum of half the current amount – about 30 kilograms of meat per person per year, reported Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).

The decline in the production and consumption of meat is reflected in the recent trend for meat-free Christmas markets across the Bundesrepublik.

During the last Christmas season, there were 15 vegan Christmas markets throughout the country – an increase from only ten last year, according to ProVeg, an association for vegetarians in Germany.

“This is definitely a trend and will grow more and more every year,” said Wiebke Unger, a spokesperson for ProVeg.

READ ALSO: The growing German trend for meat-free Christmas markets


Danish government to serve vegetarian food only twice a week

Denmark's government is to force all government canteens to go vegetarian two days a week in a move to reduce national consumption of meat.

Danish government to serve vegetarian food only twice a week
Could this be the future of Danish government canteens? Photo: Olivier Douliery / AFP
According to Green Procurement for a Green Future, a new government procurement strategy announced on Thursday, all state-run kitchens will be required to serve only vegetarian food for two days a week. 
“I hope it will go down well with our employees. This is the government's proposal, it is not something we have agreed with others. And of course that is also something we have to discuss with the other political parties,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen told state broadcaster DR
“Put simply, this is one of the ways in which we can contribute to a smaller climate footprint – by having two days a week, where there is no meat on the menu in the state canteens. The other days you can have meat if you want.” 
As well as the two vegetarian days, the government has limited the number of days when beef and lamb can be served to just one a week. 
The new policy will apply to all the 85,000 people directly employed by the state, and may also apply to the 75,000 people employed in independent government agencies. 
The proposal may later be extended to independent institutions such as the train company DSB, schools, kindergartens and universities. 
After the announcement, Denmark's agriculture minister Mogens Jensen tweeted that with 800,000 meals served a day in public sector canteens, the decision could make a significant difference. 

The proposal has split Denmark, with the populist Danish people's party going so far as to call it “totally un-Danish”, and others complaining that the measure would not apply to canteens in the Danish parliament and ministerial offices, and that the government had not calculated what the impact of the measures would be on public sector emissions. 
“I'll eat whatever food's going, but I feel very irritated that someone wants to decide what kind of food that is,” said René Christensen, leader of the Danish parliament's environment and food committee. “It's totally un-Danish that others are going to decide what we eat for lunch.” 
Morten Messerschmidt, the party's vice chairman said that the proposals would even inspire him to eat more meat. 
“It's one thing for people to want to be vegans and vegetarians, and another thing to force people to,” he said. “I really think it's crazy.” 
On the other side, Carl Valentin, green spokesman for the Socialist Left party celebrated the decision. 
“It's simply so important to have two vegetarian days in state canteens,” he said. “To get our enormous meat use on the agenda has not been easy, but now we're moving.” 

Sikandar Siddique, leader of the Free Greens, said that the proposal was too unambitious. It whouldn't only be in government canteens, but all public sector ones, including schools and kindergartens.
Rita Bundgaard, chairman of HK Stat, which represents 23,000 government employees, complained about the proposal. 
“I cannot understand why we should be forced to have Tuesday and Thursday as green days, and then fish on Wednesdays. After all, I end up asking for a steak when I want to have a steak. I think I should have the opportunity to choose and combine what I put on my lunch plate, and I think everyone should be allowed to.”