Vegetarians secretly crave meat

Vegetarian diet: Meat made from meal and grain

It started with the organic boom in the noughties: Consumers became critical, no longer only questioning the price, but also the production conditions of food and, after dioxin and rotten meat scandals, especially the origin of meat. Since then, the number of those for whom the solution to the problem lies in doing without has increased. Eat animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Eat decently by Karen Duve two years ago the companion books to the new fashion vegetarianism were called. In both the authors describe how they got away from eating meat themselves.

It is not only the success of the books that shows that the desire for a vegetarian diet is spreading across society. "We have almost doubled our membership in the last two years," says Silke Bott from the German Vegetarian Union (VEBU). There are vegetarian-friendly hotels, meat-free Thursdays in canteens and vegetarian dishes on the daily menus of most top chefs. The new vegetarianism is there for everyone - by being manipulative.

Proof of this is provided by VeggieWorld, a trade fair initiated by the Vegetarian Association with the sonorous subtitle For sustainable enjoyment . Last weekend it took place for the second time, over 21,000 visitors came and almost twice as many exhibitors as in the premiere year 2011. In addition to vegetarian cookbooks, animal-free cosmetics and organic box subscriptions, the trade fair mainly presented replicas of animal foods: duck fillet, chicken nuggets, meat loaf .

At Alf Waibel's vegan delivery stand, for example, visitors courageously reach for vegan Kraków and praise their "real meat taste". The sales figures of the Austrian company have risen sharply in the past two years, says Waibel. Since the plant-based semi-hard cheese variants are already selling well, his latest highlight is a plant-based cheese spread. Market launch is in two weeks.

Alles Vegetarisch, an online shop from Nabburg in Upper Palatinate, also has plenty of meat and cheese imitations on offer. Because the converted consumer should not have to forego anything, even fish lovers will get their money's worth here. Those who used to like to eat tuna or squid rings can continue to do so. Like the meat imitations, the fake fish consists of a mixture of pressed wheat and soy protein, various, often unspecified, spices and coloring. Doesn't taste like the original. But compromises in enjoyment make up for the karma points.

If you follow the food manufacturers at the fair, the new vegetarianism will soon be transformed into a new veganism, whose morality extends to the cow and chicken coops. Fresh milk with coffee or a piece of Dutch Gouda? An anachronism in the eyes of those producers who have already developed the plant-based variant for it. And there will be more and more of them in the future.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the veterans of the vegetarian movement. The menu of the raw food representatives is almost the same as it was 40 years ago: fruits, nuts, leaves and roots are heated to no more than 42 degrees. Only really ambitious vegans can be inspired with the spicy nut pastes and dried fruit balls. The vegetarian mainstream, on the other hand, demands accessible dishes that are known and convenient Can be prepared like a seitang goulash or a Bolognese sauce with soy mince.

Felix Hnat from GV Sustainable hopes that this development will provide a tailwind for his cause. As one of over twenty speakers, he presented his project at VeggieWorld, which aims to encourage large kitchens such as canteens and cafeterias to adopt more meat-free dishes. Bernd Drosihn, founder of Tofutown, also benefits. The vegetarian entrepreneur tells how he secretly produced tofu in Cologne in 1981 with a starting credit of 2,500 marks, which was then forbidden as "imitation milk" in the Federal Republic of Germany. Today, according to a survey by Tofutown and VEBU, three quarters of Germans know the term tofu.

In the future, Drosihn's product will be associated less and less with pale cubes in Asians, but more and more with firm, smoked sausages. And the supposed herbivores enjoy the best of both worlds. At least visually.