Canned sausages and soup: What are Germans buying during the corona crisis?

As many people have experienced, likely when trying to find rolls of toilet paper, the coronavirus pandemic has created an increased demand for certain daily goods.

Canned sausages and soup: What are Germans buying during the corona crisis?

Now new data from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office shows what Germans have already stocked up on, as well as which goods remain in high demand.

The data examines sales figures for products from March 30th to April 4th.

Contrary to what many might expect, the statistics reveal that many people are no longer stocking up on toilet paper, often dubbed “white gold” by Germans during the corona crisis.

READ ALSO: 'People love it': Toilet paper cakes fly off shelves at Dortmund bakery

Sales were 29 percent below the average of the previous six months during the first week of April. Just the week before (March 23rd to 29th) they were still up by almost half (46 percent), showing the quick decrease in sales numbers. 

Toilet paper could (often) be spotted on supermarket shelves again leading up to Easter. 

Avoid the 'hamster' urge

Politicians and business associations continue to reassure the public that there is no supply bottleneck and that they should refrain from “Hamsterkäufen,” or panic buying.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Der Hamsterkauf

The top products people continue to hoard are soaps and disinfectants, leaving many store shelves bare.

After a brief slump in the week from March 16th to 22nd, sales of disinfectant gels and sprays rose again to more than three times (276 percent) the average at the beginning of April.

Other unexpected food increases include a 400 percent rise in the sale of pre-prepared bread mixes towards the end of March. Staples like pasta and soups also spiked earlier in March and remain high. 

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Why people in Germany don't need to panic buy

Germans also seem to be coping healthfully: beer and soft drink sales have been down for weeks – around three and five percent respectively.

It seems Germans aren't giving in to their vices during this trying time. Unless, of course, you count canned sausages as a bad habit, as sales for those are up by 155 percent for the entire year. 

This graph shows the sales of certain food and hygiene products over calendar weeks at the end of 2019 and 2020 (in KW, or calendar weeks). Source: Destatis

Sales fluctuate amidst uncertain circumstances

Overall, the sales figures for food and hygiene products in the last week of March largely declined compared to the massively above-average figures the first two weeks of the month.

The sales figures for sugar in the 14th calendar week were only 10 percent above the six-month average; rice was only 12 percent above.

While yeast sales were still below average in the 13th calendar week by 37 percent, they were up 28 percent during the 14th calendar week.

There could be various reasons for these fluctuating and declining sales figures. On one hand, an in-demand product may have saturated the market. However, lower numbers could also indicate a supply shortage.

Many stores are reporting an increase in house-brand sales, meaning that many shoppers are ditching name-brands to get the products available. 

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EXPLAINED: The Covid rules in place across German states

Many Covid restrictions have been dropped in Germany, but some rules remain in place. And as infections increase again, it's important to be aware of what you should do if you get Covid.

EXPLAINED: The Covid rules in place across German states

Germany has relaxed or changed many Covid restrictions in recent months. However, with Covid infections rocketing again, people are reminding themselves of what rules remain in place, and what they have to do if they get a positive test.

Here’s a quick roundup of what you should know. 

Face masks

Covid masks have to be worn when travelling on public transport, including planes departing to and from Germany. 

They also have to be worn in places where there are more vulnerable people, such as care homes, hospitals and doctor offices. 

Masks are not mandatory anymore in shops (including supermarkets) and restaurants, but individual businesses can enforce the rule so watch out for signs on the door. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s current Covid mask rules

FFP2 masks have become the standard in Germany, but in some cases other medical masks are sufficient.

There are no longer any entry rules to public venues such as the 3G or 2G rule, meaning that people had to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. 

However, they could return in autumn if the infection protection laws are adapted, and if the Covid situation gets worse.

Mandatory isolation 

The rules on isolation differ from state to state, but there is one general requirement: those who test positive for Covid have to go into isolation at home and avoid all contact with people outside the household. The isolation period lasts at least five days or a maximum of 10 days.

If you get a positive result at home, you should go to a test centre and undergo a rapid antigen test. If it is positive, the quarantine obligation kicks in. If it is negative, you have to get a PCR test.

If you have Covid symptoms, you should contact your doctor, local health authorities or the non-emergency medical on-call service on 116 117. They can advise or whether you should get a PCR test. 

Across German states, the isolation period lasts 10 days, but – as we mentioned above – there are differences on how it can end earlier. 

In Berlin, for instance, it can be shortened from the fifth day with a negative test if you have been symptom free for 48 hours. If this isn’t the case, the isolation is extended until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours and tested negative. But you can leave without a negative test after 10 days. 

A positive Covid test.

A positive Covid test. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

Anyone who tests positive for Covid using a rapid test at a testing centre can have a free PCR test to confirm whether they have Covid-19. If the PCR test is negative, there is no obligation to go into quarantine.

In Bavaria, the isolation period is five days after the first positive test. For isolation to end on day five you must be symptom free for at least 48 hours. Otherwise, isolation is extended for 48 hours at a time until the maximum of 10 days. 

A test-to-release is not needed to end the isolation, unless the person works in a medical setting. 

READ ALSO: Germany sets out new Covid isolation rules

After isolation, Bavaria recommends that you wear an FFP2 mask in public places indoors and reduce contact for an extra five days. 

The state of Hesse has a similar system to Bavaria where a test is not needed to end the isolation early (unless the person works in a medical setting).

In North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg, residents can end their Covid isolation on the fifth day if they get a negative test (carried out at a testing centre). Otherwise the isolation period continues until the 10th day, or until they get a negative test.

Close contacts of people infected with Covid (including household contacts) no longer have to quarantine in Germany, but they are advised to get tested regularly and monitor for symptoms, as well as reduce contacts for five days. 

As ever, check with your local authority for the detailed rules.


Germany recently provisionally dropped almost all of its Covid travel restrictions, making it much easier to enter the country. 

The changes mean that entry into Germany is now allowed for all travel purposes, including tourism. The move makes travel easier – and cheaper – for people coming from non-EU countries, particularly families who may have needed multiple Covid tests for children. 

People also no longer have to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test against Covid before coming to Germany – the so-called 3G rule. 

However, if a country is classed as a ‘virus variant’ region, tougher rules are brought in. 

It is likely that travel rules could be reinstated again after summer or if the Covid situation gets worse so keep an eye on any developments. 

READ ALSO: Germany drops Covid entry restrictions for non-EU travellers

Vaccine mandate

The mandate making Covid vaccinations compulsory for medical staff remains in place. A vaccine mandate that would have affected more of the population in Germany was rejected by the Bundestag in a vote in April

READ ALSO: Germany’s top court approves Covid vaccine mandate for health care workers


Masks are no longer mandatory in workplaces, unless it is in a setting where more risks groups are, such as hospitals or care homes. 

The government no longer requires people to work from home, but employers and employees can reach their own ‘home office’ arrangement.

Tests are also no longer mandatory, but workplaces can offer their employees regular tests.