It's a German statistic which generally surprises an American. Reliability? Well....that might be up for discussion.
It's believed that roughly nine percent of the German population....is vegetarian in nature. Out of eighty million residents....around 7,380,000 million Germans have gone to the vegetarian routine. The source? The Institut Produkt und Markt. It's probably a decent statistic and within the correct range.
An American would look at this....note what they see in public view and question the number.
If you go to most restaurants in Germany today....I'd say the bulk of them offer something for the vegetarian. It might not be a long list of options, but you could sit for an hour with your friend, and eat what you felt was 'safe'.
If you go into any major German grocery chain....they all offer vegetarian frozen meals, and some kind of bio fruit and vegetable area.
Reasons? Heath is usually near the top. Some vegetarians will dwell on and on about the terrible consequences of a daily meat situation. Some will say that it was the typical diet situation if you go back several hundred years ago. Some will state the purity of being a vegetarian. It's the normal list of reasons that you'd see in the US.
The one difference between the German and American vegetarian? Well...over the past couple of months in Germany....there's been this effort to introduce meat-less days at company and government-run canteen operations.
A lot of German companies will have a central cafe, run by a catering company....which sells a lunch at a reasonable price (figure roughly five to eight Euro). They will offer standard German meat selections and meals. They also offer traditional vegetarian menu items, which satisfy most everyone. Quality? Well....you shouldn't expect a four-star meal but it generally makes happy, for the price they charge.
The German vegetarians started an effort on various fronts to influence the canteen operations to offer a meat-less day each week. The meat crowd was amused in the beginning.....then realized that they weren't kidding, and it was getting fairly serious.
In some ways, the vegetarian crowd is making an effort to introduce their lifestyle. They'd like to show folks the practical and healthy side of this. Some of the canteens are bending on this and trying agree with various 'factions'. I would suspect that most will show the receipts and profits in six months....demonstrating that meat-less days....meant lesser participation....less profits....less sales.
Whether or not this trend continues? I'm of the mind that all of the German canteen operations will eventually agree to one meat-less day a week. And the canteens will all agree that they've lost five percent of their weekly profits and sales somewhere in this lifestyle demonstration. The meat guys? They will bring in some wurst.....some microwave dishes....some sandwiches.....and survive on.
No real winners. No real losers. Just a trend spinning its wheels.