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The war in Ukraine affects supermarkets – Economy

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There is no schnapps here, vodka is also available in other countries, and Sguschtschonka sweetened condensed milk was rarely found on German supermarket shelves anyway. However, the big German grocers are now getting serious after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And that has an effect on what is offered in supermarkets and discount stores in Germany.

Lidl and Kaufland announced over the weekend that the sale of Russian products would be eliminated for the time being. Rewe had previously announced that it would remove Russian-produced items from all Rewe and Penny stores. The Netto discount chain of the Edeka group announced a boycott of Russian products. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, Edeka herself sent a signal on various social media channels: instead of the slogan “We love food”, there was now “Freedom is food” on a Ukrainian flag. Aldi pulled Russian brandy off the shelves. And the online supermarket Knuspr, which is expanding in Germany, has also banned all Russian items from the range.

Many final Russian food products are not sold in Germany. However, the general attitude of retailers is quite clear: “We don’t buy any products from Russia anymore,” said André Kowalew at the food newspaper to the point, the managing director of Hamburg’s Dovgan, probably the largest Eastern European grocery wholesaler in Germany.

Siberian discounter Mere, meanwhile, has already pulled out of European countries like Britain and Spain because of the war. According to the company, it is not yet known what will happen to the six branches in Germany.

The effects of rising prices for agricultural raw materials, energy and logistics are most severe for the food supply in Germany. Several outlets reported that Aldi is already rationing cooking oil. An Aldi Nord spokesman said Sunday that the discount store asked its customers to only buy in normal quantities for the home. Sales of some product groups, including cooking oils, fluctuate widely from day to day. “As a result, individual items may be temporarily out of stock.”

It is also clear that the sales prices of edible oils such as sunflower oil and rapeseed oil have risen. The reasons for this are poor harvests, delivery bottlenecks due to corona measures and now also the war in Ukraine. According to the Oilseed Processing Industry Association, Ukraine is Germany’s largest supplier of crude oil for sunflower oil.

Supplies in the camps should last four to six weeks. Such ads may fuel the news that the bottles of cooking oil on some shelves are already out of stock. One of the reasons could be that some people allegedly fill their vehicles with cooking oil, as can be read on internet portals, to escape rising fuel prices. Is that to be taken seriously? In any case, not only the ADAC expressly warns against it.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, producer prices for agricultural products have already risen sharply in 2021. The Food Industry Association fears that the war in Ukraine may affect many food manufacturers even more than the corona pandemic due to the soaring costs of energy and agricultural raw materials and a lack of truckers. “Politicians must now examine all measures that ensure a relaxation of the markets and guarantee food security,” says the association’s director general, Stefanie Sabet. Only with an adequate supply of raw materials can prices be affordable throughout the world. The war, it seems, has only just begun to affect what is offered in supermarkets and food prices in Germany.


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