The number of people eating meat in Germany fell to a new record low in 2023, national data shows.

Total annual meat consumption declined 0.8% year-on-year to 51.6kg according to the Federal Information Centre for Agriculture (BZL) figures.

This marks a new record low level for the country, after a drop to 52kg per person in 2022.

While the decline two years ago was driven mainly by pork, the combined beef and veal products sub-set saw the largest percentage decrease in 2023, with per capita consumption down nearly 5% at 8.9kg.

Consumption of pork goods fell 2.1% to 27.6kg per person.

However, the per capita consumption of poultry increased 7.3% to 13.1kg.

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Chicken products have seen the smallest decline in consumption since 2018 at 2.2%.

Conversely, beef and veal consumption has dropped 16.8% in the past five years, while the number of people eating pork has declined nearly 20%.

The BZl described the overall decline as a “long-term trend”, citing “among other things, changing diets”.

It added: “A generally increased awareness of the effects of high meat consumption on one’s own health, climate and environment is also likely to play a role.”

Slowing meat imports also accompanied the fall in consumption in 2023, said the BZL. This included a drop in imports of fresh meat, meat products and canned goods.

Imports of pork items specifically have slowed “steadily”, it said, decreasing 8.1% on 2022 to 961,600 tonnes.

Exports, meanwhile, fell 13.3% in 2023 to 2.2m tonnes.

Meat production has consequently taken a hit, the BZL said, although not across all categories. While net pork production fell 6.8 to 4.2m tonnes, beef and veal output rose 0.5% to 1m tonnes. Poultry production grew the most, by 1.4% to 1.52m tonnes.

Earlier this year, “preliminary figures” released by Destatis showed a 4% decline in meat production to 6.8m tonnes.