Europe’s first vegetarian butcher opens for business in the Netherlands

Exterior of De Vegetarische Slager in The Hague

Europe’s first vegetarian butcher’s shop opened in The Hague in October, serving various meat-replacement products made from lupin seeds.

De Vegetarische Slager – the Vegetarian Butcher – is the brainchild of eighth-generation lupin farmer Jaap Korteweg, who hopes to restore the protein-rich food to dinner plates in Europe, offering a sustainable alternative to meat while also reducing the environmental impact of rampant soy farming in South America.

Opened in partnership with chef Marco Westmaas and Niko Koffeman, a Dutch politician for Party for the Animals, De Vegetarische Slager will sell its own-brand lupin products alongside existing meat substitutes.

“Supermarkets and healthfood stores offer a growing variety of meat substitutes aimed at vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians, and everyone else who has decided to eat less meat,” said Koffeman. “Our dream was a store dedicated to meat substitutes in the same way a butcher is dedicated to meat.”

High in protein, lupin seeds or beans were the animal feed of choice before the advent of soy, but were a popular human dish in ancient Egypt and Rome. The process of transforming lupin seeds into an edible protein was developed in Wageningen, central Netherlands.

Geared towards the higher end of the market, it is to be hoped that the popularity of reduced-meat diets will see similar shops open in other parts of the world. A traditional meat butcher in The Hague has apparently already begun stocking some of the lupin products. Watch this space!

Click here for more on why lupin beans are a better choice than soy

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