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MEAT

Famed veggie burger resembling real meat comes to Germany

Germany is known for being a meat loving country, thanks to its abundance of Wurst (sausages). But the tide is changing.

Famed veggie burger resembling real meat comes to Germany
The Beyond Burger looks and tastes like a real meat burger. Photo: DPA/Lidl

The Beyond Burger, billed as the world's first plant-based pattie that looks, cooks and tastes like a fresh beef burger, has been snapped up by Lidl, signalling that the food culture in Germany is changing.

The supermarket giant announced it had secured exclusive sales rights to US brand Beyond Meat's plant-based food. But anyone interested in trying the meaty non-meat burger will have to be quick as it’s initially a promotional product only available “while stocks last”.

SEE ALSO: 'They're not sausages!' Butchers at Frankfurt trade fair hit back at synthetic meat

The vegan burger, which has received high profile support from rapper Snoop Dogg and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, will be stocked in branches across the country in the coming weeks.

The fake meat is made of plant-based protein, which gives it a texture, smell and taste that's similar to real meat — and it even 'bleeds' beetroot juice. 

Amid health and ethical concerns over meat consumption, 'fake meat' products, such as those made by Beyond Meat, have gained high profile support and investment in recent months.

And the move by Lidl is a sure sign that the vegetarian market is expanding in Germany, a country famous for its meat presence.

According to the Vegetarierbund Deutschland, 1.3 million people in Germany are vegans, while around 8 million are vegetarians. 

SEE ALSO: The Local's meaty vegan guide to Berlin

Jan Bock, purchasing manager at Lidl Germany, said the company had been following the country's food trends.

“We closely monitor food trends and innovations and are delighted to be the first food retailer in Germany to offer our customers the popular Beyond Meat Burger,” he said.

“For vegetarians and vegans we regularly have new products in our assortment, as well as a large selection.

“With the vegan burger patties, which have a fleshy consistency as well as the smell and taste of a conventional burger patty, we offer meat lovers an almost perfect alternative. We are very excited to see how the campaign will be received.”

German supermarkets don't shy away from carrying untraditional burgers. The chain REWE became the first supermarket in the country to carry insect burgers, made largely of buffalo worms, last summer.

SEE ALSO: The complete German supermarket survival guide

Beyond Meat was launched on the US stock exchange in February. The company raised around 240 million dollars at the IPO (initial public offering) and was valued at almost 1.5 billion dollars (€1.3 billion). The firm was founded in California in 2009 and offers plant-based meat substitutes such as burgers and tacos.

Vocabulary

Sales rights – (die) Verkaufsrechte

Promotional product – (das) Aktionsprodukt

German Vegetarian Union – (der) Vegetarierbund Deutschland 

Smell and taste – (der) Geruch und (der) Geschmack

The campaign/promotion – (die) Aktion

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LEARNING GERMAN

The best podcasts for learning and perfecting your German

Once you've learned the basics of German, listening to podcasts is one of the best ways of increasing vocabulary and speeding up comprehension. Here are some of the best podcasts out there for German learners.

The best podcasts for learning and perfecting your German

STARTING OUT

Coffee Break German

Coffee Break German aims to take you through the basics of German in a casual lesson-like format. It is extremely easy to listen to. Each 20-minute episode acts as a mini-lesson, where German native Thomas teaches Mark Pendleton, the founder and CEO of Coffee Break Languages, the basics.

All phrases are broken down into individual words. After new phrases are introduced the listeners are encouraged to repeat them back to practise pronunciation.

The advantage of listening to this podcast is that the learner, Mark, begins at the same level as you. He is also a former high school French and Spanish teacher. He often asks for clarification of certain phrases, and it can feel as if he is asking the very questions you want answered.

You can also stream the podcast directly from the provider’s website, where they sell a supplementary package from the Coffee Break German Academy, which offers additional audio content, video flashcards and comprehensive lesson notes

German Pod 101

German Pod 101 aims to teach you all about the German language, from the basics in conversations and comprehension to the intricacies of German culture. German Pod 101 offers various levels for your German learning and starts with Absolute Beginner.

The hosts are made up of one German native and one American expat living in Germany, in order to provide you with true authentic language, but also explanations about the comparisons and contrasts with English. This podcast will, hopefully, get you speaking German from day one.

Their website offers more information and the option to create an account to access more learning materials.

Learn German by Podcast

This is a great podcast if you don’t have any previous knowledge of German. The hosts guide you through a series of scenarios in each episode and introduce you to new vocabulary based on the role-plays. Within just a few episodes, you will learn how to talk about your family, order something in a restaurant and discuss evening plans. Each phrase is uttered clearly and repeated several times, along with translations.

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Learn German by Podcast provides the podcasts for free but any accompanying lesson guides must be purchased from their website. These guides include episode transcripts and some grammar tips. 

DEVELOPING YOUR GERMAN

Easy German

This podcast takes the form of a casual conversation between hosts Manuel and Cari, who chat in a fairly free-form manner about aspects of their daily lives. Sometimes they invite guests onto the podcast, and they often talk about issues particularly interesting to expats, such as: “How do Germans see themselves?”. Targeted at young adults, the podcasters bring out a new episode very three or four days.

News in Slow German

This is a fantastic podcast to improve your German listening skills. What’s more, it helps you stay informed about the news in several different levels of fluency.

The speakers are extremely clear and aim to make the podcast enjoyable to listen to. For the first part of each episode the hosts talk about a current big news story, then the second part usually features a socially relevant topic. 

A new episode comes out once a week and subscriptions are available which unlock new learning tools.

SBS German

This podcast is somewhat interesting as it is run by an Australian broadcaster for the German-speaking community down under. Perhaps because ethnic Germans in Australia have become somewhat rusty in their mother tongue, the language is relatively simple but still has a completely natural feel.

There is a lot of news here, with regular pieces on German current affairs but also quite a bit of content looking at what ties Germany and Australia together. This lies somewhere between intermediate and advanced.

A woman puts on headphones in Gadebusch, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo: dpa | Jens Büttner

PERFECTING YOUR GERMAN

Auf Deutsche gesagt

This is another great podcast for people who have a high level of German. The host, Robin Meinert, talks in a completely natural way but still manages to keep it clear and comprehensible.

This podcast also explores a whole range of topics that are interesting to internationals in Germany, such as a recent episode on whether the band Rammstein are xenophobic. In other words, the podcast doesn’t just help you learn the language, it also gives you really good insights into what Germans think about a wide range of topics.

Sozusagen

Bayern 2 present their podcast Sozusagen! for all those who are interested in the German language. This isn’t specifically directed at language learners and is likely to be just as interesting to Germans and foreigners because it talks about changes in the language like the debate over gender-sensitive nouns. Each episode explores a different linguistic question, from a discussion on German dialects to an analysis of political linguistics in Germany.

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