Why the burger chef advocates a low-meat diet

Lubeck.Peter Pane propagates the aspect of sustainability. His company says he plants new trees and fields of wildflowers. It also offers meatless alternatives to burgers. How do you respond to people who say that sustainability is just a passing phenomenon and that eating vegan and vegetarian food is “garbage”?

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I can’t be accused of climate activism, and I’m not with Fridays for Future either. I am very rational. Due to our forestry and agricultural operations in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein, I have direct proximity to nature and see climate changes. We have less rainfall. That gave us a lot of problems: we lost a lot of forest due to the bark beetle. The bark beetle breaks through because the tree can no longer form resin. So I see we have to do something. It’s time to be more careful with resources. Anyone can do this: as a consumer, as a company, as a country. Like Peter Pane, that’s what we do: for example, we use no palm oil and we use almost no plastic.

And the diet without meat?

I don’t think we will eat meat to the same extent ten years from now as we do today. If any! The vegan and vegetarian movement grew out of the animal welfare movement. This topic alone is important. And now there is also climate protection. It needs to be stated clearly: in terms of feed and methane emissions, cattle are, in a way, bad for the climate. That’s why we do two things: We plant more than 100,000 trees a year in Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. And we were among the first to say that you can pack something other than beef between two halves of a bun. About 55 percent of our items on our menu are vegetarian or vegan. So this is not just talk because it’s classy, ​​we really believe in it. Our goal is to generate more than half of our sales with these products by 2024.

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If I have a beef burger on your plate, how much beef is locally sourced?

The beef and chicken come from Germany, mostly from North Germany. If you are sitting in a restaurant in Munich, it is not necessarily from the region.

Everyone says to be sustainable. Even the big burger chains. It’s definitely not a unique selling point.

With our “Peter brought’s” delivery service we only use sustainable cardboard and packaging. We have reduced the trips of our logisticians to our restaurants to once or twice a week, from the previous four times. We try to contribute as much as we can. But when does one become fully sustainable? I recently read that a company claims to be climate neutral, but buys it with certificates. To me, these are indulgences.

You could call me a typical flexitarian.

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They believe that as a society we will eat less meat in the future. How much meat do you eat yourself?

I have strange eating habits. I eat relatively little during the week and almost no meat. I’m a high performer, and eating a tomahawk steak every lunch break affects performance. On the weekend, however, I think a piece of meat from a reasonable attitude is justifiable. You could call me a typical flexitarian. Without meat it would be difficult for me.

Will you ever have a bug burger like the competitor “Hans im Glück” in 2019?

As long as I have something to say here, there will be nothing. We spend a lot of money to keep our kitchens free of parasites. There are wonderful alternatives to meat, like amaranth, oatmeal and beet patties, so I don’t have to shred the worms into the muffin. Today, protein intake can also be represented by plants.

They are trying micro-agriculture at the Leipzig branch, so they grow sprouts, radishes and radishes in a kind of cupboard in the restaurant. To what extent can a restaurant be self-sufficient in vegetables?

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In this way, we cover 100 percent of the demand. To be fair, the ingredients make up 10 percent of the entire salad. Our goal: In the medium term, we want to grow lettuce and tomato in container micro-agriculture at our company in Mecklenburg, using photovoltaics. All branches could be supplied from there. That would be a big step in terms of sustainability. We did not have to go to Spain to look for lettuce in winter and we needed less space for cultivation. We are planning the first tests there in 2023 and in 2025 we could be independent in this area.

This interview first appeared in the “Lübecker Nachrichten”.

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