German meat production drops by 5,9 percent, continuing annual decline

The figures are in for the first half of 2023 and meat production is continuing the trend of steep annual decline in Germany. Compared to the first six months of 2022, production in the federal republic has dropped by 5,9 percent.

German meat production on the continued decline

Meat production has been on the decline across Germany since 2017. The most recent figures published by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) have revealed that the amount of meat that commercial slaughterhouses in Germany produced in the first half of 2023 dropped to 3,3 million tons – a drop of 5,9 percent compared to the same period in 2022. In this context “produced” means when the animals were both raised and slaughtered within Germany.

Despite the decline, animals bred in the German meat production industry were still slaughtered on a grand scale during the first half of 2023. According to Destatis, the industry slaughtered 367,5 million animals over the past six months; this figure includes 23,6 million pigs, cows, sheep, goats and horses, as well as 343,9 million hens, turkeys and ducks.

Beef production rates climb compared to 2022

Germans are warming to veganism and vegetarianism, but they still want their burgers and steaks as a traditional staple. Contrary to the overall trend, the beginning of 2023 saw the number of cows and calves slaughtered in Germany’s commercial meat industry increase by 0,9 percent in comparison to the same period in 2022 – amounting to a total of 1,4 million cattle.

When it comes to hens, chicks and other poultry the picture is a little different. Though poultry meat production has reduced in 2023, it has remained consistently high with a decline of only 0,1 percent. So far throughout the year, Germany has slaughtered 770.900 tonnes worth of poultry animals.

Pork production is the area which has seen the largest production decline. In the first half of the year, 2,2 million fewer pigs were slaughtered in Germany compared to the same period in 2022. 

This is due to the fact that more of the pork eaten in Germany is being reared in other countries and then brought to the federal republic to be slaughtered, meaning it is not included in the annual statistics for meat produced in Germany. So while pork production is on the decline, the number of pigs slaughtered in the country that have come from elsewhere has risen by 19,6 percent in comparison to the same period in 2022.