Food & Drink

Price Explosion for Salads and Vegetables in Germany

Whether at the Supermarkt in Wiesbaden or at the weekly market in Bad Nauheim, the prices for salads and vegetables in Germany has increased drastically recently. The cause lies in Southern Europe.

According to Hessenschau.de, Adrian Horst who runs the Edeka market in Grünberg has had to explain to his customers why the price of vegetables are so high. One kilo of eggplant now costs 6.99 euros, with a salad lettuce up to 1.99 euros. “It’s really extraordinary this year”, he said.

Even with the traditional discounters such as Aldi and Lidl the prices have skyrocketed. This is shown by an analysis commissioned by Hessischer Rundfunk at the Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI). Taking iceberg salad as an example: at the beginning of November 2016, the price at the discounters was just 65 cents. The product now costs 1.89 euros, almost three times more. A kilo of broccoli has increased in the same period from 1.55 euros to 3.32 euros. The same types of increases can be found with salad cucumbers, courgettes and peppers.

Winter to blame

The reason for the price explosion is extreme weather conditions in southern Europe. Most of the vegetables sold in Hesse now come from Spain, Italy, France and Greece. Over the past few weeks, severe floods, snowfalls and hail storms have destroyed the harvest.

“It is rare that several producer countries fail at the same time,” says Stefan Lindner, who works at the “Frankfurter Frische-Zentrum“. As a wholesaler, he has experienced problems getting enough goods from southern Europe while the quality of some products has declined. “Normally, the peppers are uniformly red. At the moment, however, we have some dark, brown spots on the vegetables.”

Shoppers at Hessens Wochenmärkte are also being forced to pay more / Image: www.Hessenshau.de

Salad from Canada and USA

The catastrophic harvest in southern Europe also leads to a rather curious situation on the Frankfurt wholesale market, especially with fresh lettuce. One supplier, Stefan Lindner, even offered iceberg salad from the USA and Canada. Field salad, in turn, is now almost an exclusive luxury article, as Frank Bartholmeß tells. He runs a fruit and vegetable business in Wiesbaden and regularly buys in the Frankfurter Frischezentrum. “I’ve been in this business for 35 years, but it has never been so extreme”, he commented. With 25 euros for a kilo of field salad one can see why.

In Hessens Wochenmärkte (weekly markets) though it is the consumers having to pay higher prices, but at a cost to the traders also. In Bad Nauheim, for example, the biggest market in Wetterau, 100 grams of field salad is being sold for 2.99 euros or even as much as 3.50 euros. On the stand of Christa Jung, a single salad cucumber costs 2.99 euros. “The more expensive the prices are, the lower our profit margin,” explains the grocer, who could not simply pass on higher purchase prices to customers, otherwise no one would buy anything. This year many traders are being forced to make do with less profit.

salads and vegetables in Germany

The recent price rise for salads and vegetables in Germany / Image: www.Hessenshau.de

No quick price reductions in sight

Many consumers and traders are currently hoping that the harvest situation in southern Europe will quickly ease again and prices will finally drop. AMI however are predicting that the high prices will continue for months because extreme weather also destroys young shoots and prevents new sowing. At the same time, Germany is dependent on fresh produce from abroad for the winter months. Almost two-thirds of the country’s vegetables are imported, the last year being 3.3 million tonnes.

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