A former German chancellor slammed Volkswagen for replacing an iconic German bratwurst dish at its cafeteria with a vegetarian version

Currywurst with fries
Currywurst is a popular German fast-food dish, consisting of Bratwurst covered in tomato and curry sauce and served with french fries. Holger Leue/Getty Images

When the Volkswagen headquarters cafeteria in Wolfsburg, Germany, removed the iconic currywurst from its menu in favor of a vegetarian option, the company received backlash from one well-known fan of the popular bratwurst dish – former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

“Do employees at VW really want this?” he said on a LinkedIn post in German, where he ranted about the dish’s removal and created a new hashtag, #savethecurrywurst. “A vegetarian diet is good, and I even do that in phases. But basically no currywurst? No!”

Currywurst is a national favorite dish in Germany and consists of fried bratwurst covered in a spiced tomato and ketchup sauce and sprinkled with curry powder. It’s usually served with fries or bread.

Currywurst is such a popular dish that it’s estimated that Germans eat 800 million portions of currywurst every year.

“Currywurst with fries is one of the power bars of skilled workers in production. It should stay that way,” Schröder said.

Schröder noted that the Volkswagen butcher shop sold 7 million currywurst dishes in 2019 alone, and the sausage dish was voted the national favorite cafeteria dish for the 26th year in a row, according to Deutsche Welle. It’s so popular that it’s estimated that Germans eat 800 million portions of currywurst every year.

Similar to the US, demand for vegan and vegetarian products has risen in recent years in German while meat consumption has slumped, according to Deutsche Welle. Major fast food chains from Panda Express to Starbucks have jumped onboard the fake meat craze, and companies like Oatly and Beyond Meat that offer plant-based alternatives to traditionally non-vegan foods have seen successful initial public offerings.

The plant-based trend hasn’t won over Schröder yet, though.

“Will I like the vegan version? We will see,” he said.