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CONSUMERS

Food prices on the rise as inflation tops two percent

Food prices in Germany increased dramatically over the last year, with coffee and chips up to 40 percent more expensive this year than in 2010 according to a study by information service Preiszeiger.

Food prices on the rise as inflation tops two percent
Photo: DPA

Food and drinks were on average 7 percent more expensive, although certain items such as apple juice and butter as well as chips and coffee cost between 30 and 40 percent more.

“The foodstuffs producers are sadly suffering under rising costs for packaging and energy as well as exploding raw materials prices,” Jürgen Abraham, chairman of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE), told Bild newspaper on Wednesday.

Problems with harvests and the increasing demand for food due to rises to the global population also added an upward pressure to prices, he said. These factors would contribute to a continuation of the development, he warned.

“The trend is clearly moving upwards. Customers will have to reckon with three to four percent price increases during 2011,” he said.

The most significant price increases were for frozen chips sold in discount supermarkets, Bild reported. They went up by 43 percent, while butter prices increased by 35 percent and coffee and apple juice both went up by 33 percent over the last year.

The Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) said consumer prices in general had risen by 2.4 percent during April alone, the third month in a row that inflation had topped the two-percent mark.

This was largely due to increased energy costs, which rose by 10.5 percent in April alone.

Destatis said prices for foodstuffs and alcohol-free drinks rose by 2 percent when this April was compared with last April. Fats and oils as well as coffee were particularly badly hit by price increases, the office said.

Vegetables were slightly cheaper than last year, apart from potatoes which were 20.4 percent more expensive than last year.

Some of the most alarming price rises include a 33.1 percent increase for white cabbage, a 28.7 percent increase for butter, 17.8 percent for real coffee, 17.6 percent for vegetable oil, 17.2 percent for chips and 13.8 percent for orange and other fruit juices.

The Local/hc

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ASPARAGUS

Only in Germany: McDonald’s begins offering ‘Spargel Burger’

Amid Germany's famous 'Asparagus Season', the fast food chain has begun offering an unusual twist on typical ingredients.

Only in Germany: McDonald's begins offering 'Spargel Burger'
A basket of Spargel in Kutzleben, Thuringia marked the start of this year's season on April 14th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Martin Schutt

How do you know that you’re definitely in Germany? One sure fire way: when you check the menu of a McDonald’s in the springtime and see a ‘Spargel Burger’. 

Germans are so enamored by the ‘white gold’ –  special light-coloured asparagus which is much thicker than its North American green counterpart – that it’s now a featured fast food at McDonald’s Germany, and with classic Hollandaise sauce and bacon to boot. 

On Thursday, the popular American fast-food chain restaurant – which counts nearly 1,500 outlets in Germany – published a photo of the “Big Spargel Hollandaise” saying that it would be available at select restaurants. They assured customers: “Yes, it’s really there.”

But its release was met with mixed reactions. “We absolutely have to go to McDonald’s sometime,” wrote one. Yet another called the unconventional creation “perverse.”

Another commenter showed skepticism: “Hollandaise sauce on a burger? Does that even taste good?”

Others weighed in on social media to point out that the product is a sign of Germany’s fascination with the vegetable. 

The burger is the latest to join the asparagus craze, with a phallic-shaped Spargel monument in Torgau, Saxony capturing the public attention – or bewilderment – earlier in the week.

An annual tradition

Every year, Germany typically celebrates ‘Spargelzeit’ (asparagus season) from the middle of April until June 24th, which many dub ‘Spargelsilvester’ (Asparagus-New Year’s Eve). 

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Spargelzeit

The beloved vegetable, harvested heavily around the country, usually has its own special menu devoted to it at restaurants, and is sold in supermarkets – or road-side stands – next to jars of the classic Hollandaise sauce. 

The top states which grow the crop are Lower Saxony, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, but Beeliz, Brandenburg is also synonymous with Spargel in Germany. 

In normal years the tiny town hosts a sprawling festival to mark the start of the season, anointing a Spargel king and queen.

READ ALSO: Here’s why Germans go so completely crazy for asparagus

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