The market research organisation said 18% of Germans aged 16-24 regularly bought meat alternative products, compared to 11% of consumers overall, suggesting a bright future for the category – and 15% in this age group consider themselves to be vegetarians, compared to 7% of the total population.
However, there is plenty of room for innovation in meat alternatives, as only 14% of Germans say they like their flavour.
“A growing trend towards reducing meat consumption on ethical and environmental grounds among young people promises a bright future for the meat substitutes category in Germany,” said Katya Witham, senior food and drink analyst Germany at Mintel.
Meat consumption has declined in Germany in recent years, and the organisation found that health concerns were the main driver, particularly among older consumers. “Almost 40% of 45-54 year old Germans are turning to meat substitutes as they try to reduce their meat consumption, most likely driven by prospects to cut fat and cholesterol intake,” the report said.
Meanwhile, four in ten Germans aged 16-24 eat meat substitutes for ethical reasons, and 30% do so due to concerns about the environmental impact of meat production.
“When it comes to German consumers' motivations for shifting their diets towards meat alternatives, the reasons stretch far beyond vegetarianism, offering much scope for future NPD based on meat substitutes’ ability to meet numerous consumer needs, from health through variety to ethical considerations,” Witham said.
She added: “As well as being more willing to try new foods, younger consumers tend to integrate meat alternatives into their meals more frequently because they have grown up seeing a wider selection of meat substitutes at retail outlets, as opposed to older consumers who may be less familiar with the products.”
Despite increased interest in meat alternatives, total consumption remains low. Almost half of those who had tried meat substitutes bought them once a month or less, Mintel said.