Originally from the Netherlands, the Vegetarian Butcher is a concept store in Germany which embodies the vision of a meat-free future without sacrifice. Located in Berlin Kreuzberg, the store is described as a modern-style deluxe butcher, where the only thing being slaughtered is prejudice. The Vegetarian Butcher offers a new generation of meat substitutes with a focus on quality, taste, and eco-friendliness.
The goal is to have people realise that they do not have to miss out on anything if they take meat out of their diet. Taking a humorous approach, the small store resembles a traditional-style butcher. It features a sales counter with old-fashioned white tiles, a pair of vintage scales and butcher’s knives. Contrasting the store’s traditional butcher design, the entire product portfolio is vegetarian and vegan. Products are based on soy, lupine and/or locally grown vegetables and are said to be of high quality with natural ingredients. Customers can choose from a range of chilled and frozen products, including vegetarian sausages, burgers, meatballs and even vegetarian products mimicking fish, such as tuna and prawns.
A special highlight is the Vegetarian Butcher’s “mc² burger”, which is said to be the intelligent answer to meat – tasty and eco-friendly. Named after Albert Einstein’s famous formula, it follows the physicist’s famous quote “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival of life on earth as much as the evolution of the vegetarian diet”. Following this mindset, seven mc² burgers combined are said to have a smaller eco-footprint than one regular beef burger.
The opening of the store in Germany coincides with the rising popularity of flexitarianism in Germany. The vegetarian and vegan sector is one of the fastest-growing segments in the German food and drink industry, with consumers’ interest in meat-free diets continuing unabated and vegan claims on new product launches soaring. The share of vegan claims on food and drink launches in Germany is now three times higher than the global average, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).
The Vegetarian Butcher might also have the answer to some of the problems that veganism and vegan products have been facing. Mintel’s 2017 Global Food and Drink Trend “Power to the Plants” identifies a need for brands in the sector to highlight the quality of their plant-based alternatives in order to compete with conventional offerings. The focus of the Vegetarian Butcher on minimising its ecological footprint is a step in the right direction. Going forward, plant-based alternatives will need to put a growing focus on clean labels and simplified ingredient lists, while also delivering on taste and texture.
The Vegetarian Butcher‘s ambition is to become “the biggest butcher globally”. The company is planning to build a network of “blood-free” stores across the world. With the interest in flexitarian lifestyles still growing, that might just be an achievable goal.
Julia Büch is a Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. She specialises in delivering insights on issues affecting the German food and drink market, providing analysis across a range of food and drink categories. Previously Trend & Innovation Consultant at Mintel, Julia was responsible for providing tailored product innovation analysis and client support primarily to Mintel’s German speaking clients.