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.


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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10 ways to express surprise in German

From woodland fairies to whistling pigs, the German language has a colourful variety of phrases to express surprise.

10 ways to express surprise in German

1. Alter Schwede!

You may recognise this phrase from the cheese aisle at the supermarket, but it’s also a popular expression in Germany for communicating surprise. 

The phrase, which means “old Swede” comes from the 17th century when King Frederick William enlisted the help of experienced Swedish soldiers to fight in the Thirty Years’ War.

Because of their outstanding performance in battle, the Swedish soldiers became popular and respected among the Prussians, and they were respectfully addressed as “Old Swede”. Over the last three hundred years, the phrase developed into one to convey awed astonishment. 

READ ALSO: German word of the day – Alter Schwede

2. Holla, die Waldfee!

This curious expression literally means “Holla, the wood fairy”. It can be used both as an exclamation of astonishment and to insinuate that something is ridiculous.

Engraving of a fairy in the picnic park in Enfield in the UK.

Engraving of a fairy in the picnic park in Enfield in the UK. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Mareike Graepel

There are various explanations as to how the forest fairy made it into the German lexicon. Some say that it comes from the Grimm’s fairy tale “Frau Holle,” while others say it comes from an old song called “Shoo, shoo, the forest fairy!”

READ ALSO: 10 words and phrases that will make you sound like a true German

3. Das ist ja ein dicker Hund!

Literally meaning “that is indeed a fat dog!” this expression of surprise presumably originates from a time in the past when German dogs were generally on the thinner side.

4. Ich glaube, ich spinne!

The origin of this expression is questionable, because the word “Spinne” means “spider” and also “I spin”. Either way, it’s used all over Germany to mean “I think I’m going crazy” as an expression of surprise.

5. Ich glaube, mein Schwein pfeift!

The idea of a pig whistling is pretty ridiculous, and that’s where the phrase  – meaning “I think my pig whistles” – comes from. Germans use this expression when they can’t believe or grasp something, or to express that they are extremely surprised.

The pig Rosalie stands on a farm in a pasture.

The pig Rosalie stands on a farm in a pasture. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hauke-Christian Dittrich

6. Meine Güte!

This straightforward phrase simply means “my goodness” and is a commonly used expression of astonishment.

7. Oha!

More of a sound than a word, this short exclamation will let the world know that you are shocked by something.

READ ALSO: Denglisch: The English words that will make you sound German

8. heilige Blechle!

Often when surprised or outraged, we might let slip an exclamation that refers to something sacred. This phrase fits into that bracket, as it means “holy tin box”. 

The peculiar expression comes from the Swabian dialect and refers to the cash box from which the poor were paid by the Church in the Middle Ages.

The green house number nine which won an award for energy-efficient renovation and construction in Saxony-Anhalt.

The green house number nine which won an award for energy-efficient renovation and construction in Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert

9. ach du grüne Neune!

This slightly antiquated expression literally means “oh you green nine!”, or “oh, my goodness!” and is one you’re more likely to hear among the older generation of Germans.

The origin of the phrase is disputed. One explanation claims that it comes from the famous 19th century Berlin dance hall “Conventgarten” which, although it was located in Blumenstraße No. 9, had its main entrance in “Grüner Weg”. Therefore, the locals renamed it as “Grüne Neune” (Green Nine).

Another explanation is that the phrase comes from fairs where playing cards were used to read the future. In German card games, the “nine of spades” is called “green nine” – and pulling this card in a fortune telling is a bad omen.

10. Krass!

The word Krass in German is an adjective that means blatant or extreme, but when said on its own, it’s an expression of surprise. Popular among young Germans, it’s usually used in a positive way, to mean something like “awesome” or “badass”.