28 Aug 2020, 11:53
Julian Wettengel

Major German cold cuts company sells more substitutes than meat for first time

Handelsblatt / Clean Energy Wire

Revenues from vegetarian and vegan substitutes at the German cold cuts company Rügenwalder were higher than those from regular meat for the first time in July 2020, reports business daily Handelsblatt. “The coronavirus crisis gave the trend to conscious nutrition with plant-based meat substitutes an additional push,” said CEO Michael Hähnel. He added that the company now has to expand its production capacities, which have been stretched to the limit in recent months. The food manufacturer said its sales of meat-free products rose by a total of 50 percent in the first half of 2020.

Handelsblatt does not discuss the details of the environmental footprint of Rügenwalder's substitute products, but most substitutes are better for the climate than real meat, according to the Institute of Applied Ecology. Rügenwalder started selling substitutes in 2014 and is now Germany’s biggest producer. Instead of meat it uses soy, wheat, peas or eggs and instead of bacon it uses rapeseed oil. Internationally, companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are much larger than the German family-owned Rügenwalder. Germany’s Scientific Advisory Board on Agricultural Policy, Food and Consumer Health Protection (WBAE) recently called for a binding “climate label” for food products and said in terms of the food supply and climate effects, the focus should be on reducing consumption of animal products and food waste.

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