Anyone going shopping in Germany at the moment needs steady nerves. Some supermarket shelves there are empty. There is no flour, oil, pasta, rice, or toilet paper. The situation is repeated in all the Länder. Some supermarkets have taken the drastic measure of rationing the shortages.
Fears of shortages of some commodities due to the war in Ukraine are leading Germans to “hamster” and buy up those products.
The statistics speak for themselves. According to data from market research institute IRI, in the week of March 7-13, people in Germany bought 170 percent more flour than in the same week last year. The figure was 74 percent higher for rice and 99 percent higher for cooking oil. Traders say that panic buying is to blame for the temporary shortage of some commodities.
As a result, many supermarkets have resorted to rationing some foods. This is particularly the case with oil, where a “normal” household quantity of no more than two bottles per person is sold.
The German grocery trade association appeals to people not to “cut corners.” “Please act in solidarity and buy only what you need,” said Christian Böttcher, spokesman for the union. Traders reassure Germans that food is plentiful and there is no reason to panic buy.
Consumer organizations are urging Germans to do the same. Hamstering creates artificial shortages and drives up prices, stresses Petra Golly of the Arnsberg consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Experts expect sales figures to normalize in the coming weeks. Except for sunflower oil, for which Ukraine is an essential supplier of raw materials, they do not foresee any complications in supply.