The Beyond Burger, billed as the world's first plant-based pattie that looks, cooks and tastes like a fresh beef burger, has been snapped up by Lidl, signalling that the food culture in Germany is changing.
The supermarket giant announced it had secured exclusive sales rights to US brand Beyond Meat's plant-based food. But anyone interested in trying the meaty non-meat burger will have to be quick as it’s initially a promotional product only available “while stocks last”.
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The vegan burger, which has received high profile support from rapper Snoop Dogg and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, will be stocked in branches across the country in the coming weeks.
The fake meat is made of plant-based protein, which gives it a texture, smell and taste that's similar to real meat — and it even 'bleeds' beetroot juice.
Amid health and ethical concerns over meat consumption, 'fake meat' products, such as those made by Beyond Meat, have gained high profile support and investment in recent months.
And the move by Lidl is a sure sign that the vegetarian market is expanding in Germany, a country famous for its meat presence.
According to the Vegetarierbund Deutschland, 1.3 million people in Germany are vegans, while around 8 million are vegetarians.
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Jan Bock, purchasing manager at Lidl Germany, said the company had been following the country's food trends.
“We closely monitor food trends and innovations and are delighted to be the first food retailer in Germany to offer our customers the popular Beyond Meat Burger,” he said.
“For vegetarians and vegans we regularly have new products in our assortment, as well as a large selection.
“With the vegan burger patties, which have a fleshy consistency as well as the smell and taste of a conventional burger patty, we offer meat lovers an almost perfect alternative. We are very excited to see how the campaign will be received.”
German supermarkets don't shy away from carrying untraditional burgers. The chain REWE became the first supermarket in the country to carry insect burgers, made largely of buffalo worms, last summer.
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Beyond Meat was launched on the US stock exchange in February. The company raised around 240 million dollars at the IPO (initial public offering) and was valued at almost 1.5 billion dollars (€1.3 billion). The firm was founded in California in 2009 and offers plant-based meat substitutes such as burgers and tacos.
Sales rights – (die) Verkaufsrechte
Promotional product – (das) Aktionsprodukt
German Vegetarian Union – (der) Vegetarierbund Deutschland
Smell and taste – (der) Geruch und (der) Geschmack
The campaign/promotion – (die) Aktion