GERMANY – Preliminary government figures has indicated a notable decline in milk consumption per capita in Germany, reaching a record low in 2022 and continuing to decrease in 2023, according to data from the Bundesinformationszentrum Landwirtschaft (BZL).

In 2022, the data revealed that milk consumption dropped by almost 2%, reaching 46.1kg per capita, the lowest figure since records began in 1991.

Contributing factors included rising milk prices and the increasing popularity of plant-based alternatives, as reported by the BZL.

The decline in milk consumption was mirrored by decreases in cheese and butter consumption, with cheese consumption falling by over 3% and butter by 1.4% per capita.

Despite this, cheese production increased due to rising exports, reaching 2.66m tons in 2023.

However, the overall production of dairy products saw a mixed trend in 2022. While milk production plummeted by more than 6% to around 4.2m tonnes compared to 2021, cheese production fell by just 1% to 2.64m tonnes, marking the first decline since 2017.

Butter production experienced a minimal decline of 0.1% to 465,000 tonnes.

In contrast, the production of milk proteins, such as whey used in sports nutrition, saw an increase of around 10% in 2022. Per capita consumption of milk proteins rose by nearly 4% to 610g.

The BZL also reported a decrease in the number of dairy farms in Germany, accompanied by a reduction in the dairy cow population. Despite this, the average annual milk yield per cow increased marginally.

Furthermore, the declining trend in food consumption extended beyond dairy products, with meat consumption in Germany reaching a new record low in 2023, declining by 0.8% year-on-year to 51.6kg per person.

Overall, the data indicated shifting consumer preferences and dietary choices in Germany, with a growing emphasis on plant-based alternatives and a reduction in traditional dairy and meat consumption.

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