There is a special place for sausages in German cuisine, but it can be traditional art for sausage making (well-chopped sausages) from the recent past.
The butchers close their shops all over Germany. Here in the last two decades, meat shops have stayed almost halfway.
According to the German Peasant Society (DFV), there were 21,160 stores of meat in 1998, which remained less than 12,000 in 2018.
There are only 108 butcher shops for 37 million people living in Berlin. Compared to the central region of Thuringia, the difference clearly appears.
There are about 400 Toki shops for 21.5 million people.
Increase sales, interest decreased
Closing of the butcher shops is not related to profits. According to DFV, people in Germany are still buying traditional meat products with great interest.
In the last two decades, average annual sales of meat shops increased by 60 per cent and in 2018 amounted to 14 million euros ($ 15.7 million or £ 12.6 million).
If demand persists, why do shops close in Germany? This is a direct response to the old butcher Jorge Leitgo from Berlin – the attraction of this profession is not present in the younger generation. No one wants to do that anymore, “he says.
Litgough has run its business since 1995. They are second-generation butchers. Their morning begins at 4:30. Behind the store, they have a production area, where they spend 14 hours a day.
Here the meat products are made from family spices for sausage making. “We make our own spice mix,” he says, “in some other stores, pre-season spices are used, but we will not get anything here.”
His arduous work is done in a quiet street next to his shop – pieces of beef curry, and sausages prepared from pork, which turns bright red by mixing chili powder and a long cylinder of long brown liver.
“My parents worked, my grandfather found the same thing, my grandfather opened my shop in this place in 1934.”
But now no individual or relative of his family wants to participate in this work, so Litgota fears that family tradition will not be able to continue after leaving his job.
“I’ve kept a lot of trainees in the last few years, but now I do not.”
“They are not ready to do this, and they do not want to do things that require a lot of time and physical effort.”
Do not come to learn
This change is not limited to the German capital. According to recent estimates, two thirds of the butchers from Germany are older than 50 and there is no replacement.
The number of participants in the three-year butcher training program has dropped significantly. In these training programs, practical training is provided along with technical education.
According to DFV, there were more than 10 thousand fishing vessels but in 1999, their number dropped to 3 thousand in 2017.
Three years of training is also necessary to become a salesman in meat shops. The number of those who take training decreased.
In 1999 there were about 14,000 sales trainees. This figure fell to 3700 in 2017.
“We are not only struggling with the lack of trained butchers, but we also do not have business staff,” says Klaus Gerlak, Berlin director Butcher Gild.
The lack of meat shops and the shortage of trainees have left much of the capital Berlin.
In July 2018, Berlin Butcher Guild announced that it would stop a program to teach trainees at the city’s only technical school.
“Twenty years ago, when this technical college was opened, there were 1,250 trainees in Berlin and Brandenburg, and only 145 last year,” he says.
Through training, butchering and sales programs, trainees can work in shops in Berlin.
But in the classroom, where they learn about new machines and other methods, they have to go to the Technical College of Leipzig 200 kilometers southwest of the country.
What can be done to attract new young trainees? Gerlak says some jobs can be done with better wages and facilities.
In Berlin, trainees can earn a maximum of $ 700 ($ 785 or £ 635) per month, which is decided by local labor organizations.
In other parts of the country, they can earn more than 1000 euros ($ 1120 or 905 pounds).
“We have to remember that they are not only the support staff, they are the future of our business,” Giralak says.
Cash is not enough to save traditional butcher shops.
According to Hendrik Hassi, food activist and co-founder of Berlin’s Shop Compile and Cule, there is a need to change people’s attitude toward this region.
“These days people are more familiar, they have many questions about food, is it good to eat meat, how does it affect the climate?
Engaging in a meaningful discussion on these topics can help keep this tradition alive in a non-vegetarian society.
Make room for discussion
Haas, 35, is a consultant and communications designer. Together with Jorge Forstera, 31, Compile and Quail opened in 2015.
Transparency has been at the center of their business model from the beginning.