Ten percent of Germans are "flexitarians"

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Share of vegetarians doubled within seven years

More and more people in Germany are critical of unrestrained meat consumption. A representative study by the Universities of Göttingen and Hohenheim comes to the conclusion that the number of vegetarians in Germany has doubled over the past seven years and that there has been a general trend towards less meat. Increasingly, consumers would also consciously opt for a temporary meat waiver and significantly reduce their meat consumption overall.

"Veggie Days, animal welfare, meat scandals: meat consumption has been the subject of increasing discussion in recent years," reports the University of Hohenheim in a recent press release. Agricultural scientists from the Universities of Hohenheim and Göttingen have now examined how high the proportion of vegetarians and low-meat eaters (flexitarians) is in Germany and what motives they drive. With an increase to 3.7 percent, the proportion of vegetarians in the total population has doubled in the past seven years. Flexitarians are now more than one in ten (11.6 percent of those surveyed). Just under ten percent (9.5 percent) said they wanted to reduce their meat consumption. "Overall, 60 percent of Germans have a general willingness to eat less meat," which is why the German agriculture and meat industry should increasingly rely on smaller quantities and higher quality, the study authors advise. However, some people (13.5 percent of those surveyed) are still real meat fanatics and would increase their consumption if it were cheaper, according to the result of the representative survey. Two percent said that regardless of the price, they would in any case eat more meat in the future than before.

Trend towards less meat consumption Professor Achim Spiller from the University of Göttingen explained that "the trend towards eating less meat will (and will) continue in the future because it is shaped by trend groups that shape consumers". Although three quarters of Germans still see their meat consumption as unproblematic, but consumers as a whole would orientate themselves more towards sustainability motives, which could lead to a drastic decrease in meat consumption. This is also reflected in the relatively high proportion of flexitarians surveyed for the first time.

60 percent ready for restrictions on their meat consumption Professor Spiller estimates that if appropriate measures were implemented "such as information campaigns, the proportion of Germans who would be willing to limit their meat consumption would increase to 60 percent". The driving force here is the thought of one's own health, explained Anette Cordts, coordinator of the survey at the University of Göttingen. Animal welfare also plays a special role for people who already have a vegetarian diet. There are also environmental concerns, which also lead to lower meat consumption in some people. However, large sections of the population have so far not been aware of the environmental problems associated with the production of animal food.

Meat consumption with a high level of education tends to be lower Two thirds of the people in Germany who eat vegetarian diets are women, which speaks for an increased health awareness of the female sex with regard to nutrition. Regarding age, however, no correlations were found, the researchers report. Vegetarians were found in all age groups. In terms of educational level and income, however, there would have been significant differences in meat consumption among the different groups. Professor Harald Grethe from the University of Hohenheim explained that, according to the results of the current survey, "meat consumption decreases with increasing level of education and higher income". (fp)

Photo credit: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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