Dutchies ditch the meat: Netherlands eats the most meat replacements in Europe

You may not think it with the national love for bitterballen, but it turns out the Dutch are going veggie. A recent study puts the Netherlands ahead of every other European country when it comes to the consumption of meat replacements.

According to research by not-for-profit ProVeg, Dutchies buy the most meat replacement products compared with their European neighbours. It looks like many have also dabbled in veganism, as the sale of vegetable-based “cheeses” is also on the rise — these are up by 400% over the last two years, reports the NOS.

A small market on the rise

Despite the Dutch love for non-meat, the market share of these products is only 2.5%. This is surprising when the national average amount of fake meat products eaten per person in the Netherlands is 870 grams per year.

READ MORE | Let’s talk about food waste in the Netherlands

The cliché that every millennial is veggie might be true. Remko Vogelenzang, director of Bobeldijk Food Group, said that it’s mainly young people driving the meat-free market.

He also suggests that coronavirus might have affected people’s meat-eating habits. He told the NOS that “some people have become concerned about factory farming and come to the conclusion that a pandemic is caused by humans, in the way we interact with animals.”

Low on “real” meat consumption

It looks like aardappelen, vlees, groente is going out of fashion, the Dutch aren’t eating as much meat as we think. In fact, surprisingly, the Netherlands is only 70th in the world for its meat consumption, according to World Population Review. That’s miles better (or we should say kilometres better) than our neighbours in Germany. Across the border they are chomping in at 19th place.

What do you think about Dutch meat consumption? Have you dipped into the meat replacement market? Let us know in the comments!

Feature Image: Sander Dalhuisen/Unsplash

Chloe Lovatt 🇬🇧
Chloe Lovatt 🇬🇧http://globeshuffler.wordpress.com
A British native, Chloe has a love for other languages and cultures, having lived in Spain before moving to the Netherlands. She is keen to explore the Dutch landscape, cultural spots and — the most important — food! After being here for a few months she already has developed a mild addiction to kibbeling.


  1. Good morning!

    I’ve noticed 2 mistakes on this article. It states that the Netherlands ranks 70th in the world for meat consumption but that is wrong.
    On the world population review website it shows that the Netherlands is 70th in population with 17 million people.
    The other fact that is incorrect is that NL eats 17 million kgs of meat and Germany eats 84 million kgs. If you look closely at the table you see that those numbers are referring to to the 2021 population and not kgs of meat eaten.

    I hope this helps and can be corrected.

    Have a nice day!!


  2. The veg cheese is not only for non meat eaters, it’s mainly due to people suffering with intolerances ie. lactose. In our household we have 3 of us with intolerances, and I presume many others have the same problem.

  3. Hey guys, are we sure those numbers on the meat consumption are correct? 17M kg per year is 1kg/person/year in NL, same rate as in Germany. So even if the numbers were correct, the comparison NL vs Germany would at minimum be deceiving.

    The link you give clearly states that the number in the table is country population (column header) and not meat consumption (table name).

  4. Also one other thing that would be cool to go over is the amount of plastic waste in meat replacements. I eat very little meat but what I eat I get it from the butchers or fishmonger, in case of fish. Those don’t come packaged. I have not seen anywhere a place to get meat replacements without that hard plastic (unless we’re talking tempeh and bags of lentils). An interesting piece of journalism could be looking into that and an even more interesting piece of entrepreneurship could be looking into this problem. Idea is out.

  5. I am African American and am 8 months into a plant based/ vegan lifestyle. I Love love love it. I switched to improve my health. I’m healthier now and have much more energy and I no longer have high blood pressure and was taken off the medication. I walk 8-15 thousand steps 5 days a week and enjoy cooking new delicious recipes that include meat replacements and exploring restaurants with Vegan Friendly options. I may have to visit my sister in law who lives in Finland and show her some of my new cooking skills.

  6. I am confused about the numbers. Germany is at the 19th place with 84 Mio kg vs Netherlands with 17 Mio kg, but their population is also much larger. In fact it works out at 1kg per capita in both countries. But in fact per capita consumption is close to 80kg per year. That makes the 870g fake meat to be about 1% compared to meat.


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