by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Eats, Lifestyle, Vegan.
Photo: The Vegetarian Butcher/De Vegetarische Slager

As the citizens of the Netherlands look for meat alternatives, a very different chain of butcher shops is looking to meet that demand.

The Vegetarian Butcher is a butcher shop, but you won’t find any meat there. The stores offer a wide selection of “faux meats.” According to VegNews, the chain now includes 30 stores which offer “chicken, bacon, gyros, sausage” among other vegetarian and vegan products. Founder Niko Koffeman says the company is looking to provide alternatives to meat from animals but also food that is more sustainable. “Animal cruelty is one reason, but also a growing concern for sustainability,” Koffeman says. “After all, meat production is highly inefficient.”

According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 75% of people in the Netherlands no longer eat meat daily, which may account for the reason The Vegetarian Butcher has grown so rapidly. The first store opened in October 2010, and less than one year later, 30 stores are in business. Koffeman says that he believes 80% of their customers are vegetarians or vegans, but he hopes to attract customers who are still looking to reduce their consumption of meat or eliminate it. He just might do it…”The display counter of these shops is a visual challenge because the fake meat products look so much like the real thing that just a glance at it makes many a carnivorous stomach grumble.”

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

View all posts by Jennifer Mishler →
  • Sonia

    I think it’s great that people in the Netherlands recognize the “inefficiency” and, of course, the cruelty of meat. If only Americans would do the same, maybe the veggie butcher can come to the states!

    • Ann

      Yes! I agree, and that couldn’t happen soon enough!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Alice-Pollard/552573626 Mary Alice Pollard

        Dito to that ladies :) Absolutely fantastic news – may it spread within Europe and here in the UK too :) !

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kiley-TruthonEarth/100000625898504 Kiley TruthonEarth

    This is AMAZING!!!!!!

  • Bas

    Well, I had the luxury of tasting the products of the ‘vegaslager’ and they really tasted like real meat, even better! As a vegetarian, sometimes I miss the structure of meat. With the vegetarian butcher I can eat my burger, kebab, bacon or meatballs without worrying about animal cruelty or environmental consequences.

  • Tulio

    I hate this “fake” meat. Vegetables are delicious being vegetables.
    It is like adding bacon flavour to carrots so kids will eat it. What is wrong with a good ratatouille?


    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Alice-Pollard/552573626 Mary Alice Pollard

      Any alternative that takes people away from the vile meat industry can only be a good thing. Not everyone gives up meat because they didn’t like the taste – most gave it up for the welfare reasons. So bring on the alternatives and save the lives of animals ! :) And you are right – vegetables are simply the best and the more we eat the better ! :)

    • Alister


      We are brought up with a mentality fo certain types of food. It is harder (on the whole) to change that mentaility than it is to substitute it. But you are right, Vegetables are delicious being vegetables, especially in a good curry sauce.

  • http://www.eightthousandandone.blogspot.com woo

    This makes me so happy!

  • http://nhes.org John N

    This is so exciting, I wish that American entrepreneurs would do the same. I agree with the comment above, it would be awesome if the Vegetarian Butcher opened American stores also; I would be a frequent and blissful shopper!

  • http://www.itmcomputing.com clyde

    This is wonderful news. I’m thinking it would be best to suggest to new butchershop, the meat kind, that just opened in Berkeley. I know, liberal Berkeley. sad state of affairs.

  • TheProgressiveMama

    i think this is so wonderful. i love making seitan sausages and other mock meats at home. i wish there was a vegetarian butcher near me! any vegan entrepreneurs out there better jump on this trend fast!

  • http://www.silentroarpetrescue.org Aggie

    Its a good alternative for meat eaters to reduce meat eating slowly. A real meat eater can’t just eat veggies for ever one day to the other…..its a slow process, bit its a positive process. This kinds of shops are good for those people who grew up eating meat but now realize how cruel and bad for the planet it is….but they have to take it slow…or it wont work and they will go back to eating meat.

    • MJ

      I’ve heard of many cases where people go vegan or vegetarian overnight. It depends on the person’s willpower, adaptability, and ability to plan meals.

  • Dani

    I’m moving to the Netherlands. Not just because of this amazing shop, but because I think it’s awesome how many people are working to reduce the amount of meat they consume!

  • Tellsall

    @Aggie: I don’t agree that non-meat-eaters will slide back into meat-eating just for lack of options. If one’s committed to veganism because of moral concern then surely lack of options will be only a minor hindrance. If one’s not committed to veganism, or is so for reasons other than moral concern, then sure – backsliding is much more probable. So education about the immorality of animal use should be *the* most important cause for any vegan advocates.

    Bur the idea of the shop sounds like a great idea while the world transitions to veganism (which allows probably many many more years or centuries of opportunity – which is probably not even true of most businesses in existence right now).

  • terry

    This is retarded as hell. Meat should be increasing! Its alot better and healthier then being vegetarian or vegan. Not concerned about the so-called climate change or cruelty.

    • don_miguelo

      Youch, where to start? The ‘R’ word, the ignorance of meat related health issues, or the denial of climate reality?

      Meh, forget it, my energy would be better spent visiting the Netherlands.

      • Rob

        Good reply. Don’t feed the trolls.

    • Alister

      Terry, did McDonalds sponsor your information source? Feel free to share with us…

  • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

    Great article but its not true. (something untrue in our beloved VegNews, how shocking…)
    “The first store opened in October 2010, and less than one year later, 30 stores are in business.”
    a fat lie. There simply is one small shop in The Hague called “the vegetarian butcher” . This one shop produces fake meat products, and simply sells these products in other regular organic stores, etc, shops taht are not afiliated with this “vegetarian butcher” shop.
    It is not a chain and there is nothing growing fast.
    Just read the website of this small shop.

    Its a catchy name, but its simply a stunt, and there really is nothing new, veg meats have been widely available in Holland for decades and are also available in regular supermarkets.

    • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

      there is no vegetarian butcher shop chain in Holland. this article is pure nonsense. there is only one small shop, not a chain. Just visit their website.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Babs-Zurunkal/100000323289752 Babs Zurunkal

    Whew. At first I thought it sounded like place that butchered vegetarians.

  • Cole

    I’m all for reducing meat consumption, but non-fermented SOY IS TOXIC and far from a healthy food substance, especially if it is GMO. Meat alternatives are most likely made with soy protein in its various forms which naturally contains MSG and other hormone disrupting substances.

    • MJ

      Which is exactly what your beef and chicken have eaten. If you want to eat what is essentially sick meat, go ahead. But do consider that the animals are raised and butchered under horrific circumstances, which fills the meat with more saturated fat and stress hormones. So, if you get stroke, heart disease, cancer or diabetes (II), then you might regret not having eaten soy, which is not toxic. But if you are concerned about GMO, as I am, buy the organic tofu.

  • http://www.veggieleven.be veggieleven.be

    It’s not a chain. De Vegetarische Slager has one shop of itself in Den Haag. Their products are sold though through several other shops in the country.

    • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

      AND the other part of the title of this article “meat demand drops” is also untrue.
      In the Netherlands there are almost as many pigs living (12 million, out of sight in factory farms) than there are people living, 15 million. Hardly a sign of a country with “dropping meat demands”.
      meat is popular as ever, with supermarkets stunting with meat prices and consumers buying these cheap meats by the kilo.
      Currently WAKKER DIER (=”animal awake”) is campaigning against supermarkets that offer too cheap meat.
      I think its shameless to bluntly put such an article with claims that are not true and can be checked very easily by simply visiting the website of this “vegetarian butcher shop”.
      According to their website, there is just one small shop, not a chain.

      • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

        its just another sign of the “quality” of the “journalism” of VEGNEWS, and unfortunately Ecorazzi for not checking the facts.

  • MJ

    Catchy title, but I see it is just a manufacturer/distributer of mock meats – no storefronts but one.
    What is cool is that the average person does not eat meat daily. Smart culture.

  • War for Animal Rights

    This is the only kind of meat that should be allowed.
    Now there is no excuse from anti-vegetarians. We need tough laws against the breeding of animals for meat. If you don’t like it, go eat road kill. Eating real meat is 10X worse than molesting children.
    To bad to all the politically correct douchebags who don’t want to hear the truth.

  • Neil Kenes

    I do not really look at it as an “alternative”. I sort of look at these types of products as “what would have been”, had man not exploited animals at all. Meaning, man would have come to create these so called “fake meats”, even if man never saw another animal besides a human.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kurt.taylor1 Tone Master

    Woahh? are you serious? 10 x worse? you are sooo fucked up. Did even think before saying that? That is one of the most inappropriate and cruel things I have ever heard. Its people like you that is holding this movement back. Acting like a food nazi pisses people off. Lets get this straight 0.2% of the western world is vegan and 2% are vegetarian. Hardly convincing facts. That means on a “conversion scale” WE ARE MOSTLY PREACHING TO THE CONVERTED!. Currently there’s more people failing on a vegan diet that being converted! I might even eat a steak just for you… psycho