Empty Shelves in German Supermarkets as Inflation Leaves Products Unprofitable

Empty shelves for certain products are seen in a Berlin supermarket on October 17, 2022. -

Supermarkets are being left with empty shelves throughout Germany, as spiralling inflation renders the sale of a wide variety of products unprofitable.

Products ranging from Kellogg’s cornflakes to Coca Cola have disappeared from supermarkets throughout Germany, with many shops being left with empty shelves as products become simply unprofitable to sell due to differentials in inflation.

It comes as overall inflation hit 10 per cent in the country in September, with EU-wide inflation for the month falling just short of 11 per cent as a result of the ongoing energy crisis, which has in turn hiked the cost of food and other essential goods.

According to a report by Handelsblatt, such surging inflation is now having a significant knock-on effect on the supply of food products within Germany, with companies warring with each other over the pricing of various items.

With the hike in production costs, food giants including the likes of Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Mars have been pushing for German supermarkets to pay higher prices for various products in the hopes of preserving their own profitability.

Retailers in the country however have strongly resisted this, with one supermarket chain in the country going so far as to accuse major companies of “price gouging” and “usury”.

“Not only Mars, but also many other international brand groups such as Coca Cola or Procter & Gamble are currently trying to ride the wave of inflation with excessive price demands in order to increase their returns,” a spokesman for the Edaka chain of supermarkets claimed.

The official went on to claim that a number of major companies have now halted deliveries to the chain, something that they alleged is being used to put pressure on supermarkets.

“They use unilateral delivery stops as a means of exerting pressure on retailers,” they claimed.

Things do not appear to be much different at other supermarkets throughout the country, with supplies being cut off as retailers refuse to purchase products from various well-known suppliers at increased prices.

“The situation in the industry is critical to catastrophic,” Federal Association of the Food Industry general manager Christoph Minhoff remarked regarding the feud, which has seen some individual rows even reportedly ending up in court as companies are unable to come to a compromise.

As a result of these ongoing hostilities between supermarkets and producers, a wide variety of well-known brands have disappeared from supermarkets throughout Germany, leaving many shops with empty shelves.

The likes of Coca Cola, Pepsi, Snickers, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Milka Chocolate, Ritter Sport chocolate, Wrigley’s chewing gum, along with many other products ranging from mayonnaise to pet food have all been affected, though availability reportedly varies between supermarket chains.

Such shortages however will be the least of concern for many in Germany as they enter the winter months, however, with many in the country expected to be left unable to adequately heat their homes either as a result of the ongoing gas shortage.

Organisations in the country are now taking radical measures to cut consumption, with the likes of some universities in the country even promising to push for energy savings of up to 27 per cent in the hopes of relieving strain on the system.

It remains to be seen whether these targets are hit, however, with one 3rd level institution in the west of the country seemingly relying on the voluntary actions of staff and students in order to hit its target.

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