SHARE
COPY LINK

SUPERMARKETS

Hamsterkauf: Toilet paper disappears from German supermarket shelves as panic-buying returns

As coronavirus cases in Germany have started to climb again, so too has the demand for toilet paper: concerns about new restrictions have led to increased demand for certain goods across the country.

Hamsterkauf: Toilet paper disappears from German supermarket shelves as panic-buying returns
Rising coronavirus cases have led to an increased demand for toilet paper in German supermarkets. Photo: DPA

When the coronavirus pandemic spread across Europe earlier this year, toilet paper went from being a normal household item to a prized commodity overnight. 

As panicked customers rushed to stock up for the imminent lockdown, limits had to be introduced to ration supply and empty shelves were seen in supermarkets across the country. 

Estimates by market researchers Iri suggest that the sales of toilet paper in the second week of March more than doubled compared to the same week in 2019.

Uncertainty grows along with cases

By the time summer came around and restrictions were loosened, demand eventually stabilised. 

But now that infection rates in Germany are on the rise once more, it seems that fears of a second lockdown are driving customers back to the hygiene aisle for another Hamsterkauf (panic buying). 

READ ALSO: Germany reports 6,638 new coronavirus cases – highest since start of pandemic

“At the moment we are noticing another slight increase in demand for certain products such as toilet paper in our stores”, a spokesman for discount Aldi Süd told German magazine WirtschaftsWoche

Lidl too confirmed it was experiencing an increase in demand, but chains such as Rewe, dm and Kaufland have not yet noticed a change.

Many Germans have taken to Twitter to either complain or make fun of the shortages, with one joking about finding a ‘Hamster Kauf Starter Pack’ in his local supermarket, or several rolls of toilet paper and flour:

An Edeka store in the southern town of Esslinger has even taken to TikTok to ask customers to shop responsibly: 

Lessons learned

Despite reports of empty shelves, however, the two discount retailers stressed that panic-buying was by no means necessary.

“After the events we saw earlier this year, we are monitoring changes in demand more closely than ever to ensure that nothing is in short supply”, said the spokesperson for Aldi Süd. 

Lidl also confirmed that it was “well prepared”, adding that it was in a position to “react quickly to provide stores with sufficient supplies” if demand should increase. 

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19 RULES

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now

SHOW COMMENTS