Germany: Food retailing and consumer behaviour

The German food market is a dynamic and competitive industry that offers a wide range of products and services to consumers. Here are some key aspects of the German food market:

Consumer Preferences: German consumers value high-quality, fresh, and locally sourced food products. There is a growing demand for organic, sustainable, and healthy food options. Convenience foods and ready-to-eat meals are also popular due to changing lifestyles.

Supermarket Chains: Germany has a strong presence of supermarket chains that dominate the market. Some of the major players include Edeka, Rewe, Aldi, Lidl, Kaufland, and Metro. These supermarkets offer a wide selection of food products, ranging from fresh produce to packaged goods, along with non-food items.

Discounters: Discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl have a significant market share in Germany. They focus on offering low-priced products, including private label brands, and operate with a streamlined and efficient business model.

Organic Market: Germany has one of the largest organic markets in Europe. Organic food and beverages are in high demand, and consumers have access to a wide range of organic products in supermarkets, specialized organic stores, and farmers’ markets.

Regional and Specialty Products: German consumers appreciate regional and specialty food products. There is a strong emphasis on traditional German food, such as sausages, bread, cheese, and beer, which are often produced locally and have protected geographical indications.

Online Food Retail: The online food retail sector is growing in Germany. Many supermarkets offer online shopping and home delivery services, and there are also specialized online retailers focused on delivering fresh produce, meal kits, and gourmet products.

Food Safety and Quality Standards: Germany has strict regulations and high standards for food safety and quality. Consumers have a strong awareness of food safety issues and expect transparency and traceability in the food supply chain.

Food Sustainability: Sustainable food production and reducing food waste are important topics in the German food market. There is a focus on reducing packaging waste, promoting sustainable agriculture practices, and supporting fair trade.

The top 10 German supermarkets based on turnover up until that time. However, please note that rankings can change over time. Here is the list of the top 10 German supermarkets in terms of turnover, based on available information up until September 2021:

  1. Edeka
  2. Aldi
  3. Lidl
  4. Rewe
  5. Schwarz Gruppe (operates the Lidl and Kaufland brands)
  6. Metro AG (operates the Real and Metro Cash & Carry brands)
  7. Kaufland (part of the Schwarz Gruppe)
  8. Penny (part of the Rewe Group)
  9. Netto Marken-Discount (part of the Edeka Group)
  10. Globus

The top-selling products in German supermarkets can vary depending on the region, season, and consumer preferences. However, there are several product categories that tend to perform well in the German market. Here are some of the commonly popular products:

  1. Fresh Produce: Fruits and vegetables are essential components of German supermarkets. Items like apples, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce are frequently purchased by consumers.
  2. Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter are staples in German households. German consumers have a wide selection of dairy products, including local and specialty cheeses.
  3. Bread and Bakery Products: Germans have a strong bread culture, and a variety of bread, rolls, and baked goods are available in supermarkets. Popular choices include whole grain bread, pretzels, croissants, and pastries.
  4. Meat and Sausages: Germany is known for its meat and sausage products. Traditional German sausages like bratwurst and currywurst are commonly consumed. Pork, beef, and poultry are also popular choices.
  5. Beverages: Mineral water, soft drinks, beer, and wine are commonly purchased beverages in German supermarkets. German beer, both traditional and craft varieties, holds a significant market share.
  6. Pasta and Rice: Staple food items like pasta, rice, and noodles are frequently bought by German consumers. They are versatile ingredients used in various dishes.
  7. Canned and Packaged Foods: Canned vegetables, soups, sauces, and ready-to-eat meals have a place in German supermarkets for their convenience and long shelf life.
  8. Snacks: Snacks such as potato chips, pretzels, chocolates, and cookies are popular impulse buys in German supermarkets.
  9. Breakfast Cereals: Breakfast cereals, muesli, and granola are common choices for breakfast or snacks.
  10. Personal Care Products: German supermarkets also sell personal care items such as toiletries, cosmetics, and household cleaning products.

Consumer behavior in Germany is influenced by various factors, including cultural values, economic conditions, technological advancements, and changing societal trends. Here are some key aspects of consumer behavior in Germany:

  1. Quality and Value: Germans place a high value on quality and are willing to pay for products that offer superior quality and durability. They tend to prioritize value for money rather than opting for the cheapest option.
  2. Environmentally Conscious: Sustainability and environmental concerns are important to German consumers. They are conscious of the ecological impact of their purchasing decisions and show a preference for products that are eco-friendly, organic, and produced using sustainable practices.
  3. Health and Wellness: Germans are increasingly health-conscious and prioritize their well-being. There is a growing demand for healthier food options, organic products, and dietary supplements. Consumers pay attention to food labels, nutritional information, and ingredients.
  4. Convenience: Convenience plays a significant role in German consumer behavior. Busy lifestyles and a desire for time-saving solutions have led to an increased demand for ready-to-eat meals, pre-packaged food, and online shopping options.
  5. Trust and Transparency: Germans value trust and transparency in their interactions with businesses. They appreciate clear and accurate product information, reliable customer service, and fair pricing practices. Reviews and recommendations from trusted sources influence purchasing decisions.
  6. Local and Regional Products: Germans have a strong affinity for locally produced goods. They appreciate locally sourced food, traditional crafts, and regional specialties. Farmers’ markets and direct-to-consumer sales channels are popular among consumers seeking local products.
  7. Digital Adoption: Germans have embraced e-commerce and online shopping. Consumers use digital platforms to research products, compare prices, and make purchases. Mobile shopping and payment methods are also gaining popularity.
  8. Brand Loyalty: Germans tend to be brand loyal but are open to trying new products if they offer clear benefits or align with their values. Brand reputation, reliability, and product performance play significant roles in brand preference.
  9. Value of Bargains: Although Germans appreciate quality, they also value bargains and sales. Promotions, discounts, and loyalty programs can influence consumer behavior and drive purchases.
  10. Financial Prudence: Germans are generally known for their financial prudence and cautious spending habits. They prioritize saving and prefer to make informed purchasing decisions.


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