• Germany edition
 
Nostalgia stokes demand for East German brands
Photo: DPA

Nostalgia stokes demand for East German brands

Published: 27 Feb 2013 07:04 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Feb 2013 07:04 GMT+01:00

Nearly 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, certain aspects of East Germany lives on for many former citizens, in the form of egg-cups, cleaning products and jars of Spreewald gherkins.

The Ostprodukte Versand dispatch centre in Tangermüde, Saxony-Anhalt, stocks German Democratic Republic (GDR) products not just to look at, but also to actively consume or use.

Bright blue and red scarves of the East German Pioneers youth movement wait in cardboard boxes along with ATA scrubbing powder, hen shaped egg-cups and Mekorna baby food, to be shipped off to customers pining for everyday GDR goods.

Owner Torsten Klipp also runs a GDR department store in Tangermüde's historic old city. "The customers also need to be able to see, smell and touch [the products]," he said.

The East German Sandman, a favourite from the children's TV sits in the store display window with his friends. Half of a bright yellow Trabant car has long been a feature of the brick façade.

Every day in the shop, customers can be heard saying "we used to have this," a phenomenon known as "eastern nostalgia," or Ostalgie in German.

"People unconsciously associate something with the products," said Marko Sarstedt, a marketing expert at the Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg.

Finding GDR products attractive is an automatic response rooted in childhood experiences, he said. "The most important influences are completed by the age of seven," he added. The brands that stood on supermarket shelves back then are seen as somehow trustworthy.

"Anyone who buys these products is also rebelling a little against the rest of the brands on the supermarket shelves, to which a bland flavour of homogeneity clings," said Sarstedt.

Majority of GDR goods were discontinued not long after the fall of the Berlin wall, outstripped by a new flood of hip and colourful bands of the West. Yet a few of years after German reunification, customers began to hanker after the old products of the East.

"I always wanted to offer as wide a range of products as possible," says Klipp. The online shop now offers 1,000 products and has 100,000 buyers in the customer database, with every tenth order placed outside the country.

As for the rest of the clientele, orders from the former East and former West Germany tend to balance each other out, said Klipp. He often ships entire product lines to major supermarket chains or other distributors.

Klipp does not rely solely on fast-selling products like Nudossi spread, Halloren-chocolates and Spreewald-gherkins.

He has redeveloped private brands and had them protected under EU product laws. "It's all about developing a trend further and being attractive to younger people," he said.

That is why, for example, Klipp has updated the famous blue, yellow and white hen-shaped egg-cups for modern times, now exclusively offering them in the black, red and gold of the German flag. And it all seems to be paying off.

Klipp said business had been up every year since he opened in a room in his flat in 2003. Last year, revenues were up 11 percent to a total of €1.2 million and he employed 12 people.

He now lives in a former brewery, which also houses his office and warehouse, complete with a bust of Lenin in the hallway to greet visitors as they enter.

DPA/The Local/mb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:19 February 27, 2013 by johncoates
I miss two beer styles that died after the wall, Berliner Weiss and the Baltic Porter. The free market killed them :( But they are making a comeback.
11:12 March 2, 2013 by Roberto Gold
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine
Tuesday night's rescue operation Photo: DPA

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine

Six people, including a family and two American tourists, were left dangling 40 metres in the air over the Rhine for hours late on Tuesday after Cologne's cable car came to a halt. READ  

7:1! Bayern celebrate record Roma away score
Arjen Robben celebrates the first goal against AS Roma. Photo: DPA

7:1! Bayern celebrate record Roma away score

Bayern Munich were elated on Tuesday night after seuring a 7-1 victory against Roma in their group stage Champions League clash. READ  

Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast
A preserved World War II U-Boat on the beach near Kiel, Germany. Photo: DPA

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast

A World War II German U-boat and an American merchant vessel it sank in battle have been found deep in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina, officials said on Tuesday. READ  

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?
Coming soon? Photo: DPA

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?

Berlin's bid to set up a free city-wide wireless network has so far come to nothing. But city bosses are now trying for a fourth time - and hope to have the project running next year. READ  

Opinion
Do German unions have too much power?
Lufthansa passengers rush to change their flights at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

Do German unions have too much power?

Germany's pilots and train drivers are taking it in turns to bring the country to a standstill with strikes that have cost the economy tens of millions of euros in the last two weeks. Are unions abusing their power or standing up for their rights? READ  

Older workers can have extra days off, court says
Photo: Workers in a German shoe factory. Photo: DPA

Older workers can have extra days off, court says

Older workers in Germany are allowed more time off than younger ones, a court ruled on Tuesday, saying the difference was not discriminatory. READ  

Expat's family battles for answers four years on
Matthew Fitzpatrick died in 2010 in Mannheim. Photo: Fitzpatrick family

Expat's family battles for answers four years on

In 2010 an Irish computer engineer was found dead in his apartment in Baden-Württemberg. Four years on, his family are still pressing the German justice system for answers. They feel badly let down by police who they say have refused to examine evidence of foul play. READ  

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret
The judges of the Supreme Court announce their decision about weapons exports on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret

The government can keep arms deals secret and only tell the public about them after contracts have been signed, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Just how honest would you have to be to return €7,500 that you found in a box supposed to contain your favourite cheesecake? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,488
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd