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Frugal Germans consider cost first at the supermarket

The Local · 7 Oct 2011, 16:26

Published: 07 Oct 2011 16:26 GMT+02:00

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A survey released on Friday showed that a massive 51 percent of Germans said price was their primary consideration when buying food, while 49 percent said quality was more important.

The “Consumers‘ Choice 2011“ study, conducted by the market research firm GfK and the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE), questioned 30,000 households about their shopping habits.

While it is easy to see whether one product is more expensive than another, determining quality is more difficult - as shown by the 81 percent of those surveyed who found it difficult to quantify the term quality.

Of those asked, 96 percent of consumers said that taste was most important for determining quality, while 93 percent paid attention to consumer food safety and health criteria.

The German assumption that food in the supermarket is of a certain standard may be responsible for the popularity of

discounters such as Aldi, Netto and Lidl - or reflect the strong competitive pressure food retailers face to keep prices low.

“Consumers have a positive picture of the quality of food in Germany,” said Sabine Eichner, managing director of BVE in a statement.

Despite the fact Germans are widely considered to pay less at the supermarket than Italians, Spaniards and Brits, 54 percent of consumers reckon the quality of food in Germany is better than abroad. A further 41 percent think food quality has improved in the last ten years.

The showed a high level of agreement in defining quality groceries as “appetizing, fresh, healthy ingredients and residue free.”

But these criteria are “selfish” criteria, based on individual consumer use rather than general interest criteria, such as “animal welfare” and “fair prices for producers.”

Of those asked, 74 percent said they would include the general interest criteria in defining high quality.

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But, the pollsters noted, such claims often rank higher in surveys than is actually the case – people will say they take more consideration of such factors than they do in real life.

Household income, for example, is also an issue in the price-quality debate. Of the quality-conscious consumers, 41 percent defined themselves as “able to afford almost everything,” while 32 percent of the price-minded said they “could barely afford anything.”

The Local/dpa/emh

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:38 October 7, 2011 by ovalle3.14
Well nobody got rich signing checks!
11:56 October 8, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
"a massive 51 percent" ehh? The alternative answer was 49 percent, so to me that is pretty much a dead heat !!
15:11 October 9, 2011 by sparki
I have to say that having lived here in Germany for 3 years now, the food at the supermarkets is appalling quality, compared to the UK, France, Hollands etc. Small soft potatoes, bread that doesn't last beyond a day, poor choice of meet unless you like pork. Can you even buy a joint of lamb? Can if you search for it. The survey is about right, most germans i speaks to think the food is good, until that is they cross the border into Holland for example, then they realise what quality food is, oh, and choice too. That's why so many Germans near me in Düsseldorf pop over the border for their food. Until they know different, ignorance is bliss.
22:14 October 9, 2011 by Californian
As a Californian, I must say the vegetables here in Germany are throw-away quality.

Back home you couldn't give away what they sell here.

More than half the time there are little gnats flying about the produce, and they are half rotten. That is the definition of appalling.

As much as I do like old Germany, they make it easy to get home sick.
22:17 October 9, 2011 by jg.
I agree with Sparki - I have lived in Germany for 10 years now and have seen no evidence that Germans care about the quality or origins of their food (other than some who look for a "Bio" label). Germany is the only country in Europe where I have seen mouldy bread on supermarket shelves and fresh produce covered in flies.
23:16 October 9, 2011 by _scythe_
As the saying goes, people cannot realize the value of something until they lose it. My experience with supermarkt food was so horrible, over time my health deteriorated, so I just packed and left the country. I found the German farmers' markets a joke (overhyped and extremely overpriced). Germany has many nice aspects, but food, water and weather ain't one of them (personal opinion).
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