Over the past few years, Germany has emerged as a leading force in the so-called ‘vegan revolution’. New research from Mintel Food & Drink research late July reveals that Germany has retained its crown as the country with the highest percentage of global vegan food and drink launches, accounting for 15 percent of global vegan introductions between July 2017 and June 2018.

Globally, 5 percent of all food and drink products launched between July 2017 and June 2018 were vegan, while 11 percent were vegetarian. While vegetarian launches have been relatively stable over the past few years, vegan launches more than doubled in the past five years, growing by 175 percent from July 2013 to June 2018.

In Germany, vegan claims are almost twice as frequent as vegetarian ones: 14 percent of all food and drink launches appearing on the market between July 2017 and June 2018 carried vegan claims, while only 8 percent featured vegetarian claims. Featuring on just 4 percent of food and drink launches five years ago, vegan claims in Germany have grown exponentially between July 2013 to June 2018, more than tripling (240 percent) during this time period.

Katya Witham, a global food & drink analyst at Mintel, commented: “In recent years, consumers around the world have increased their intake of plant-based foods and Germany is no exception. Our research shows that stricter plant-based diets like veganism are still niche, while a much higher percentage of consumers are embracing ‘flexitarianism’.
"The majority of consumers are not giving up meat; they are making room for more vegan products as part of ‘flexitarian’ dieting, opening opportunities for plant-based food and drink innovation. Moreover, the rapid growth of vegan products in Germany also reflects the rise of ethical consumerism, especially among younger consumers.”

Ms. Witham said that the spirit of flexitarianism seems to resonate in Germany: 20 percent of 16-24-year-old Germans had purchased meat alternatives in the three months before taking part in Mintel’s survey in 2017, and half of all German consumers (50 percent) believe that plant-proteins are just as nutritious as animal proteins. In fact, nearly one in five (17 percent) think that plant protein tastes better than animal protein.

“The appeal of products without animal-derived ingredients has extended far beyond the limited pool of steadfast vegans and vegetarians, carving a place within overall healthy and varied diets. Food and drink manufacturers would do well to incorporate vegan claims into wider health and ethical-related product positioning, serving the purpose of providing transparency, and communicating product suitability to the widest range of consumers," Ms. Witham added.