Germany has seen a 6 per cent drop in nationwide meat production so far this year, the country’s Destatis central statistics office has revealed.
The decline has been put down to a significant fall in pork production.
According to data released by the federal agency on August 9, German farms slaughtered about the same number of chickens and cows for meat compared with the same period last year.
By contrast, the first six months of 2023 saw a 9.2 per cent slide in the number of pigs dispatched compared to the first half of 2022.
The agency said that represents the latest evidence that the German pork industry is in decline, with Destatis describing the global pig heard as having shrunk each year since 2017.
Pork still remains the most popular meat in Germany, representing 62 per cent of the country’s overall meat production in the first half of 2023.
No explanation was given by Destatis as to why the national pig herd has been experiencing such a steady decline.
One possible contributing factor is the reduction in meat-eating more generally across Germany, with consumption falling to just 52 kilograms per person per year in 2022, a 30-year low, again driven by a fewer number of people eating pork.
The consumption of plant-based meat alternatives is said to have risen, according to data gathered by Good Food Institute Europe, an NGO aimed at bolstering the continent’s factory-grown and plant-based meat industry.
“The number of products sold in this category increased by 41 per cent between 2020 and 2022, while sales of pre-packaged meat from livestock fell by 13 per cent,” the organisation claimed, adding that the market for vegan milk alternatives has also grown.
The institute said Germany now represents the single-largest market for plant-based alternative foods in Europe, followed by the UK, Italy, Spain and France.