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Why are vegan meat substitutes so expensive?

Why are vegan substitutes so expensive? 6 reasons for price differences

Why are vegan meat substitutes so expensive? This question probably crossed your mind when you recently walked past the refrigerated section of your favorite supermarket. And it's absolutely justified. While a liter of cow's milk is available for €1.19, plant-based milk costs Alpro Oat milk €1.59 - that's 40 cents more. Also the yes! Beef burger patties cost €11.23 per kilogram - while you have to fork out €12.29 per kilogram for vegan equivalents in the same supermarket. The impression that vegan substitutes are more expensive is therefore no coincidence. But why is that the case?

In this article, I would like to give you a brief overview of six reasons why plant-based meat substitutes - and vegan alternatives to animal-based foods in general - are often a little more expensive. You'll also find out why these price differences won't last much longer. Let's go!

You can find a brief overview here in advance:

  1. The range of plant-based substitute products is not yet so extensive
  2. Sales and production volumes of substitute products are still too small
  3. Animal food production is subsidized by the state
  4. Animals are bred, kept and slaughtered as cheaply as possible
  5. Suppliers of plant-based foods are increasingly focusing on healthier ingredients
  6. Animal foodstuffs are taxed at the moderate rate

Tip: Why the a vegan diet is generally not that expensive as many people think, as I explained in another article. Only the vegan convenience and substitute products are relatively expensive. And the reasons for this are the subject of this article.

1. the range of plant-based substitute products is not yet so large

Vegan substitutes are more expensive due to low supply

Meat substitute, Milk substitute and other vegan alternative products has not existed (in its current form) for very long.The range of products on offer must first grow and prove itself on the market.

15 percent of food and drink launches in Germany were labeled vegan between July 2017 and June 2018. Five years earlier, the figure was only around 4%.₁ However, even though the range is growing steadily and rapidly, it is still much smaller overall than the range of animal products. Increases the supply However, if the price of vegan alternatives continues to rise rapidly (because demand remains high), the price will also become cheaper over time due to growing competition.

2. the sales and production volumes of substitute products are still too small

The Federal Statistical Office reported that in 2021, companies in Germany will have just under 17 percent more meat substitutes than in the previous year. Compared to 2019, production even increased by more than 62%.₂ This is primarily due to growing demand, which, together with supply, determines the price.

However, the sales figures for vegan substitute products are still lower than those for animal-based foods. And if you produce less, the entrepreneurial costs per product are simply somewhat higher. However, the growing demand promises larger production figures - and these in turn promise lower prices.

3. the production of animal foodstuffs is subsidized by the state

Animal food production is subsidized by the state

The intersection of supply and demand determines the market equilibrium - but the state still has various ways of intervening in the market. For example, by regulating the Factory farming through the Payment of subsidies artificially or economically "alive". Without this financial injection, farms would have to earn considerably more money, which could only be guaranteed through higher prices for meat, milk, eggs and other animal products.

Are you wondering why vegan cheese is so expensive or slightly more expensive than conventional cow's milk-based cheese? Ultimately, this is also due to the fact that the German state subsidizes the animal industry with at least 13 billion euros annually ₃ (as the data situation is not transparent, the actual amount is likely to be much higher)

4. suppliers of plant-based foods are increasingly focusing on healthier ingredients

Why are vegan substitute products so expensive? Also because the ingredients are often From organic farming and are grown somewhat more expensively. The main reason for this is that vegans are more environmentally and health-conscious consumers - and manufacturers and suppliers have adapted to this target group.

5. animals are bred, kept and slaughtered as cheaply as possible

The animal industry only works on principle: As much as possible, as cheaply as possible. At housing level 1, for example, 26 chickens share one square meter of space. A pig has around 0.75 square meters available in the barn.₄ Ultimately, it is only possible to offer "cheap" prices at the (additional) cost of the animals.

As a result, more and more small farms are getting out of livestock farming - until at some point only the large agricultural groups are left. The Growing demands on animal welfare (e.g. more space for animals in stables) mean that these companies - and ultimately consumers too, of course - can inevitably expect higher prices.

6. animal foodstuffs are taxed at the moderate rate

Vegetable substitutes are subject to the general tax rate

Why are vegan foods so expensive? Mainly because the state has been charging products like soy milk and vegan burger patties with the General VAT rate of 19 percent taxed. The prices for meat and other products of animal origin, on the other hand, only include the reduced VAT rate of 7 percent.

More and more institutions and organizations (such as the Federal Environment Agency) are calling for an increase in taxes on meat, milk and eggs, as well as a reduced tax for plant-based, more environmentally and climate-friendly, animal-friendly and healthier foods.₅ This way vegan substitute products ultimately much cheaper - and presumably also cheaper over time than their animal counterparts.

Why are vegan substitute products so expensive? Because they are taxed higher and are not subsidized by the state

Livestock farms not only receive state subsidies - the state also taxes their products with 12 percent less VAT. How absurdwhen you actually want to initiate an agricultural and energy revolution, don't you? In addition, vegan alternative products are still quite new on the market and there is not (yet) too much competition in the sector.

We hold: Yes, plant-based substitutes are KEUR compared to many animal productswhich should give us pause for thought in terms of both animal welfare and meat quality. But whether vegan alternatives are also EXPENSIVE is another question. What is certain, however, is that meat is far too cheap - and that this situation cannot continue for much longer.

The price differences are already much smaller than 10 years ago - and will reverse in the coming years due to rising demand, increasing supply, lower or higher taxation, rising animal welfare standards and the elimination of subsidies for factory farming.

One more thing that shouldn't go unnoticed: you can also use live very well vegan without substitute products. I will explain how this works in a separate article.

I hope that this article has provided you with detailed information on the reasons for the relatively high prices of vegan substitute products. Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Then I look forward to your comment!

Stay animal-friendly,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: Through a vegan lifestyle you ensure that the prices of meat substitutes, vegan cheese and plant-based milk alternatives fall in the future. Still undecided? Go to why live veganI will now explain my personal motives for doing so.


₁ Mittel Reports Deutschland: Germany continues to dominate in vegan product launches (as at 30.06.2018), available at [21.06.2022].

₂ Federal Statistical Office: Press release no. N 025; Meat substitutes continue to trend: Production increased by 17 % in 2021 compared to the previous year (09.05.2022), available at [21.06.2022].

₃ Peter Carstens: Study - Germany supports the animal industry with more than 13 billion euros per year (as at: 05.03.2021), available at [21.06.2022].

₄ Ulrich Zillmann: What do the husbandry levels for meat mean? (as of 02.07.2021), available at [21.06.2022].

₅ Federal Environment Agency: For climate and environment: Higher taxes on animal products, available at [21.06.2022].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

2 thoughts on “Warum sind vegane Ersatzprodukte so teuer? 6 Gründe für Preisunterschiede”

  1. In this article, the following sentence occurs: "Oh, and another thing that should not go down: by the way, you can also live vegan very well without substitute products. I'll explain how that works in a separate article."

    This separate article would have interested me as well, unfortunately it is linked incorrectly.
    The link refers to the article you are reading (
    which is not very useful.

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