Veggie Food: Booming meat replacement market has lost momentum
Meat substitutes and other vegetarian foods have seen a real boom in recent years. However, it has recently subsided. Meat and sausage substitutes have been sold less in recent months. However, according to experts, the long-term veggie trend will continue.
Many good reasons for a vegetarian diet
According to a recent survey, fewer and fewer people eat meat. There are enough reasons for a meat-free diet. Various scientific studies have come to the conclusion that this can reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. In addition, vegetarians are less likely to get colon cancer. The trend towards vegetarian nutrition has given manufacturers of meat substitute products great pleasure. But recently the veggie boom has subsided.
The veggie boom continued for years
In the past, meat substitutes were found that tasted like meat, almost only in health food stores or health food stores; today, vegetarian schnitzel and sausages are available in almost every well-stocked supermarket. The veggie boom continued for years.
As early as the spring, it was reported that the market share of meatless foods continued to increase.
But since the summer, the market for meat replacement products has been on a shrinking course, according to current figures from the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK), reports the news agency dpa.
Sales of meat substitutes have been declining recently
The development is somewhat surprising, because at the end of last year manufacturers of meat substitute products were able to enjoy growth rates of more than 50 percent compared to the previous year. This year, however, growth weakened and came to a standstill. "In the past two or three months, sales have even declined," said GfK expert Helmut Hübsch.
“Many consumers tried it out. But a large part of it also stayed with the one-time attempt, ”says Hübsch, according to dpa. "We have a relatively high proportion of one-time buyers."
Products not convincing in the test
Maybe the taste was not convincing. As the agency report says, investigations by Stiftung Warentest and Öko-Test could also be responsible for the change.
In early summer, Öko-Test rated almost half of 22 meat replacement products as insufficient or deficient. Only one product was rated "good".
The testers criticized the “surprisingly high level” of mineral oil components in some products, but also over-seasoning and the use of additives containing glutamate to trim the product taste to meat-like.
In addition, they criticized the generous use of salt in a number of products and the "often soft to mushy consistency" of the goods.
Mineral oil components found
In a test by the Stiftung Warentest, however, six out of 20 meat substitute products were given the grade “good”.
But here, too, some harmful mineral oil components were found.
But: "In every product group there are convincing candidates that are a good alternative to their meaty role models and even resemble them in taste and consistency," the testers reported.
“But many products can get even better: some veggie varieties tasted dry, were difficult to chew, or were very salty. Nor are they lower in calories per se than comparable meat products. If you want to save fat, you have to take a close look at which product you choose. With some meatballs and bratwurst it works. "
Tastes different than usual
According to dpa, the setback for marketing expert Martin Fassnacht from the WHU business school comes as no surprise. "Vegetarian and vegan products are still small niche markets," said Fassnacht.
“Of course, people who are not hardcore vegetarians sometimes eat meat substitutes. But it doesn't taste the way you're used to it. And it takes time to get used to it. "
There can be no talk of an end to the veggie boom. "It may not go as briskly as originally thought - but the issue has not been settled," said GfK trade expert Wolfgang Adlwarth.
The proportion of vegetarians will continue to increase
After all, more and more people are reducing their meat consumption. Many young people in particular live vegan or vegetarian for moral and ethical reasons.
"You don't just throw such convictions overboard when you get older," explained the consumer researchers. Therefore, the proportion of vegetarians will continue to increase in the coming years despite the current signs of slowing down.
The managing director of the Vegetarian Federation Germany, Sebastian Joy, was also not impressed by the latest figures: “Veggie products have a firm place on the market. The long-term veggie trend can be seen across the board and in many areas, ”said the expert. (ad)