More and more German consumers are turning to plant-based foods as they become more aware that the way they eat can have an impact on the environment, biodiversity, and their health. 

According to a current representative consumer survey commissioned by the Federal Association of the German Food Retailers (BVLH), 41 percent of those surveyed stated that they were flexitarians, i.e. they only eat meat occasionally. Nine percent are vegetarian and three percent are vegan. Vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians make up 47 percent of the population who do not adhere to any of these diets.

The consumer survey on the topic of “plant-based diet” was conducted by Forsa from August 10th to 14th, 2023. A total of 1,026 people aged 18 and over were interviewed using a systematic random procedure. The study findings can be transferred to the entire population in Germany with the error tolerances possible in all sample surveys (in the present case +/- 3 percentage points).

This attitude is particularly pronounced among women and those under 30. At twelve percent, the proportion of women who follow a vegetarian diet is twice as high as men. And the younger the respondents are, the more often they say they eat a vegetarian diet. 15 percent of people under 30 describe themselves as vegetarians. Among respondents aged 60 and over it is only six percent.

If they had to explain why people should buy more plant-based products, the majority of the population would prioritize the environment, animal welfare, and health. 62 percent would justify their preference for purchasing plant-based products by saying that it is better for the climate, 52 percent would argue that it is important for animal welfare and 51 percent would argue that consuming plant-based products is simply healthier. A fifth would cite good taste as a reason why they should buy more plant-based products. To ensure the best taste properties, vegan substitute products may contain more sugar, fats, and salt than the animal foods to which they are intended to be an alternative. For two-thirds of German citizens, this would be a reason not to buy such products.

Consumers satisfied with the extent of the food retail offering of plant-based products

German food retail companies have constantly expanded their product range of plant-based foods and vegan alternatives to animal products. A large majority of 72 percent of German citizens consider this offer to be sufficient or just right.

When asked what grocers can do to encourage customers to buy more plant-based foods, half (51%) say retailers should promote plant-based foods and locally grown vegan alternatives. 43 percent would buy more plant-based foods if they were offered at a cheaper price.

Consumers want information about the benefits of plant-based diets

If grocers offered more preparation tips and recipes for plant-based foods or held hands-on activities in-store, this would encourage almost a third (31%) to buy more plant-based foods. A similar number of respondents (29%) believe that they would buy more herbal products if there were a larger selection. 15 percent of those surveyed believe that grocers should explain the benefits of a plant-based diet to customers, for example in the form of flyers, brochures, information stands, or explanatory videos, so that they buy more plant-based foods.

Original source: https://vegconomist.com