In Germany, vegan food sales have increased by 37% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019. Not only have foods such as dairy-free spreads, tofu products, and vegan meat gained popularity, 1 in every 10 products newly released in Germany is now vegan.
The UK has noted a similar rise in the popularity of vegan and vegetarian products. The major supermarket chain Waitrose reports an 80% sales increase in plant-based BBQ products as well as a jump in searches for vegan products on its website.
At the peak of stock-buying food during the pandemic, there was a 90% increase in US-sales of vegan food compared to the previous year – and the sales continued to grow in the following weeks. The growth rate of vegan meat was twice as fast as that of animal-based meat. At the same time, the production of meat products is declining.
Predictions expect a 3% drop in global meat consumption due to the pandemic disrupting traditional meat production worldwide. The reasons for this disruption are twofold. On the one hand, consumers have chosen more natural and healthy foods since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as potentially considering plant-based foods as a safe protein source. On the other hand, coronavirus outbreaks in meat processing plants in Germany, the UK and the US sparked by poor working conditions have not only partially led to meat shortages but also highlighted issues with the livestock industry, leading consumers to seek out alternative proteins.