BIOFACH 2014: Vegans love organic food

  • One billion people across the world are vegetarian
  • Growing trend towards veganism
  • BIOFACH 2014 with extra Novelty Stand category "Vegan"

Diets are closely associated with lifestyles. The consumption of a growing number of people is, however, not just based on enjoyment or health, but also on their values. This is frequently the case, for example, when people deliberately abstain from meat, or even animal products altogether. On the basis of data collected by the Allensbach Institute, the number of vegetarians in Germany is currently estimated at around 7 million people, 700,000 of whom are vegan. 15 times the number of people eat no meat or fish than did 20 years ago; some abstain from milk products and eggs or all foods of animal origin. Every day, 2,000 more people become vegetarians, according to the Vegetarian Association. The number of vegetarians in the world is currently estimated at one billion. India is the front runner with – depending on the source – 20 to 40 per cent of the total population, i.e. up to 200 million citizens. In 2014, BIOFACH, the World's leading Trade Fair for Organic Food, from the 12th to 15th of February, is going to have a separate category for vegan products at its Novelty Stand for the first time.

The World's leading Trade Fair for Organic Food has witnessed an ever increasing range of products for vegan cooking in recent years. Most recently, 479 of the
2,413 exhibitors at the exhibition duo BIOFACH (436) and VIVANESS (43), the International Trade Fair for Natural Personal Care, in February 2013 presented corresponding products.Vegetarian or vegan does not necessarily always also mean organic, but the organic sector probably provides the greatest variety of products for lovers of this style of diet.

The reasons for choosing a diet without animal products are varied and individual. But organic customers and vegans often have similar motives for their choice of food: protection of the environment or animals, rejection of factory farming, and world food issues. According to estimates, more than 10 kilograms of corn and 15 cubic metres of water are required to produce one kilogram of beef. But it is not just these factors that are decisive; health and enjoyment are important too. A growing number of inspirational chefs, amongst other things, demonstrates that vegetarian and vegan food is anything but unenjoyable or even implying a sacrifice.

Eating out, vegan style

They are called Attila Hildmann, Björn Moschinski, Josita Hartanto, Nicole Just or Surdham Göb – and they are causing a vegan sensation in Germany with their culinary creations, catering concepts and restaurants, as well as with their recipe books for cooking at home. Internationally too, chefs are presenting themselves with vegan concepts, for example the Americans Amanda Cohen or Chloe Coscarelli.

Björn Moschinski is the owner of the vegan restaurant Kopps in Berlin (D), coaches chefs from mass catering, is involved with the German Child Welfare Association, and writes recipe books. "Veganism means fun and surprises on the plate", Moschinski said in an interview with the magazine "Chefs!", Gersfeld (D). In the same place, you can read the words of Surdham Göb, the vegan chef and owner of the catering service Surdhams Kitchen, Munich: "The vegan lifestyle has long ceased to be confined to pierced freaks or spiritual yogis. This applies to Germany too. My cooking courses are now attended by normal housewives and couples. You don't have to be a vegan to be able to cook vegan food. You just have to change your mind-set because you can't put the normal triad of potatoes, vegetables and meat on the plate."

In vegetarian restaurants, it can be seen that the number of people who are not completely giving up meat but would like to limit their consumption of animal products for various reasons is also rising. Thus, according to the Vegetarian Association in Germany, 60 to 80 per cent of the diners in a vegetarian restaurant are not vegetarians at all. Veggie days in canteens and cafeterias are not uncommon anymore.

There is, for example, vegan "student food" in the first purely vegetarian cafeteria in Germany. Veggie N°1 is the campus restaurant of the Freie Universität Berlin and Germany's first purely vegetarian cafeteria. It was opened in 2011. Due to its exclusive use of vegetarian ingredients, a high proportion of its food is organic, 40% according to its own figures. The initiators also pay attention to the regional origin and the seasonality of the products. According to the Berlin student services, the "green cafeteria" is visited by vegetarian regulars, but is also very popular with non-vegetarians and occasional diners. The aim is to permanently offer everyone the opportunity to choose an environmentally-friendly meal. Around a fifth of the meals are purely vegetable and particularly climate-friendly. The cafeteria now caters for 1,000 people every day. At the start, it was only 400 meals per day.

A supermarket full of vegan products

The fact that vegetarian and vegan food is in fashion is also demonstrated by new, innovative retail concepts that are establishing themselves on the market. Anyone who wants to eat vegetarian or vegan food will find what they are looking for in Germany at Veganz, for example. Veganz was established in 2011. Four branches in Berlin (2x), Frankfurt and Hamburg have opened since then. Europe's first vegan supermarket with a full product range generated sales of € 1.6 million in the first branch in 2012, with around 500 people shopping there every day. A company turnover of € 5.3 million is anticipated for 2013. Jan Bredack, the former manager of a German car manufacturer has changed his life and made his lifestyle and diet into a career. "I have been a vegan for five years, and I often found it difficult to find an appropriate range of food. This was essentially the basis for the Veganz concept." Products are sought throughout the world for the four branches – and consideration is given to fair trade and organic products. The stores always also include a bistro, in which the customer can be inspired and gather ideas for cooking at home and for the next shopping trip. This also applies to the Veganz cooking school. The concept also includes a catering service. "We attend a lot of festivals to tap additional groups of customers", says Jan Bredack. His expansion plans are ambitious:
21 supermarkets by 2015, in Vienna (2x), Prague, Munich, Leipzig, Essen, Cologne, London, Budapest, Stuttgart, Hanover, Freiburg, Nuremberg, Zurich, Amsterdam, Warsaw and Rome.

It is not just in Germany that the enthusiasm for vegan food is growing. Another vegan retail concept, Maran Vegan, was recently launched in Vienna.

Vegans love organic food: vegan food at BIOFACH

Pros from the retail market and the catering sector who would like to find out about international trends from the organic food sector have already marked the dates in their diary: 12th to 15th of February 2014. And as the World's leading Trade Fair for Organic Food BIOFACH, which is next to take place on these dates, not only presents the most comprehensive overview of organic products, but also provides a varied, inspiring range for vegan food scouts, the category "Vegan" is to get its own place at the BIOFACH Novelty Stand. Thus, vegan delicacies are to compete for the Best New Product Award for the first time, an award which the trade buyers vote on every year in all the Novelty Stand categories. Udo Funke, Director Exhibitions of BIOFACH and VIVANESS, says "it is important to us to pick up on trends in the food sector, on the one hand, and actively give impetus to the market, on the other. Veganism is one such trend, but so are other special diets, such as kosher or halal. These – just like fair trade organic products – have been marked with a small label in the Exhibition Guide since 2013. This makes orientation easier when visiting the exhibition. We present innovations in such a way that they can be experienced as directly as possible. Industry representatives and buyers are supposed to get as much benefit as possible for their own company from their attendance of the exhibition – and to return home with a suitcase full of ideas."

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