Around one million people in Germany live vegan *, and the trend is rising. Instead of animal foods such as meat, fish, milk, eggs and honey, they use vegetable alternatives **. For most, the vegan lifestyle goes beyond diet.
Animal-free cosmetics, leather-free shoes and clothing made from plant fibers are often part of everyday life for vegan people. “The vegan way of life has reached the center of society. More and more people are choosing plant-based alternatives in the supermarket, in the restaurant, when choosing clothes or when traveling, ”says Sebastian Joy, VEBU managing director. "The younger generation in particular is now open to animal welfare issues and sustainability and lives these values every day with a knife and fork," added Joy.
Vegan offer almost never
"With the ever-improving infrastructure in Germany, it is becoming increasingly easier to live vegan," says Joy. “The group of consumers who critically question their consumption is growing. The economy is responding to this trend. Suppliers of food, consumer goods and services are adapting to the new target groups and are offering an increasingly diverse range of herbal alternatives ”, says Joy. According to a market analysis by the Institute for Trade Research (IFH) Cologne, sales of 454 million euros were achieved in 2015 with vegetarian and vegan products.
Gastronomy and hotel businesses are also adjusting to the vegan trend. In the VEBU restaurant database, interested parties can discover vegan restaurants in their area. On special online portals, vegan people worldwide find hotels that specialize in the plant-based lifestyle. The first course of study for vegan nutrition has been available at the University of Applied Sciences for medium-sized companies since this year.
Reasons for a vegan lifestyle
A plant-based lifestyle protects the climate and the environment. Animal husbandry is the main cause of climate-relevant emissions in the agricultural sector. Globally, it is responsible for 14.5 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Animal husbandry therefore emits more than the entire transport sector. “Vegan dishes support your own health and have been proven to prevent many lifestyle diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Living vegan also means contributing to animal welfare and world hunger. Factory farming is an extremely cruel method of making food for humans from animals. Around 50 percent of the annual global grain harvest and 90 percent of the annual global soybean harvest are fed to so-called 'farm animals'. If fewer feeds were grown for animal production, far fewer people would suffer from hunger worldwide, ”explains Joy. "On top of that, the vegetable kitchen is fun and offers plenty of scope to discover and try it out," adds Joy.
Vegan products have the V label
The V-Label provides orientation when purchasing vegan products. The V-Label is an internationally protected seal of quality for labeling vegetarian and vegan foods. It is used as an orientation aid on packaging. When shopping, consumers can see at first glance whether a product is suitable for them. The V-label is awarded in Germany in the categories 'vegan' and 'vegetarian' by the VEBU. Not all substances used in production appear on the list of ingredients. So far, only by asking the manufacturer about a product can consumers be completely certain whether a food is vegetarian or vegan. If the product is licensed with the V-label, consumers can be sure that it is a vegetarian or vegan product.
* For the number of vegan people see: https://vebu.de/veggie-fakten/entwicklung-in-zahl/zahl-veganer-und-vegetariat-in-deutschland/
** The term 'vegan' originated from the English term 'vegetarian'. By omitting the middle five letters, the word 'vegan' is created.