• 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
Nazi-stolen painting put on display, sort of
The Wiesbaden Museum in Hessen. Photo: DPA

Nazi-stolen painting put on display, sort of

The Wiesbaden Museum was once a collection house for art stolen from Jewish owners by the Nazi. With one painting, they hope to right at least one wrong while bringing awareness to its ongoing restitution work. READ  

JobTalk Germany
When should interns demand to get paid?

When should interns demand to get paid?

After a woman was denied pay for working at a supermarket as an 'intern' for eight months with no wages, The Local looks at the warning signs for abusive internships. READ  

Single parents, common law families on rise
Photo: DPA

Single parents, common law families on rise

The German family structure is changing, with nearly a third of every family no longer living in the "classic model" and big differences in what family looks like in the former East and West, statistics agency Destatis announced on Monday. READ  

Four arrested in raids against Isis
Photo: DPA

Four arrested in raids against Isis

Police raided 15 homes across Germany over the weekend and arrested four suspected supporters of the Islamic State (Isis). They are alleged to have smuggled a teenager and thousands of winter military clothes to the terrorist group's frontlines. READ  

Munich Refugee Crisis
'There's no room but we have nowhere else to go'
Hassan, pictured outside the Bayernkaserne with two of his children, arrived in Munich from Syria. Photo: Mariane Schroeder

'There's no room but we have nowhere else to go'

Around 300 refugees are arriving in Munich each day, but accommodation centres are full. With authorities struggling for answers, The Local meets those at the sharp end of the crisis. READ  

Train Strike
Buses up prices, football fans brawl, trains return
Photo: DPA

Buses up prices, football fans brawl, trains return

UPDATE: Deutsche Bahn trains are chugging along again after a 50-hour train strike cost the service "tens of millions" and brought travel headaches across the country, leaving millions of passengers struggling for transportation over the weekend as well as at least one mass brawl in its tracks. READ  

Foreigner toll to hit motorways only
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt. Photo: DPA

Foreigner toll to hit motorways only

Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt plans to limit his road toll for foreigners initially to motorways only, Spiegel reported on Sunday. READ  

Criminals blow Berlin Sparkasse wide open
The damaged bank branch. Photo: DPA

Criminals blow Berlin Sparkasse wide open

Criminals robbed a Berliner Sparkasse bank branch early on Sunday morning - using a bomb. READ  

French retread path to Berlin finance ministry
French Economy and Finance Ministers Emmanuel Macron (l) and Michel Sapin. Photo: DPA

French retread path to Berlin finance ministry

French and German ministers are due to meet on Monday to discuss ways of boosting growth in Europe's two biggest economies, as Paris called on Berlin to step up investment. READ  

Lufthansa pilots to strike for 35 hours
Grounded. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots to strike for 35 hours

UPDATE: Pilots' union Cockpit has called a new 35-hour walkout at Lufthansa starting Monday, hours after a weekend-long rail strike finished. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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
Travel
This is the man who has stopped Germany's trains
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
Expats: Should I stay or should I go?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
Which expat foods do you miss the most?
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
How to get hired at a Berlin startup
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

3,441
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd