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The products getting more expensive and harder to find in Germany

The war in Ukraine has had been impacting supply chains in Germany, leading to price hikes and (in some cases) shortages of popular foods and drinks. Here are some of the products that are affected.

A man gets a bottle of beer from a refrigerator in a late-night shop in Berlin-Mitte.
A man gets a bottle of beer from a refrigerator in a late-night shop in Berlin-Mitte. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Braun

With inflation reaching a forty-year high of 7.3 percent in March, the war in Ukraine is continuing to take have a knock-on effect on the price and availability of products on German supermarket shelves.

As the conflict continues, the price tag of certain goods looks likely to remain high and to increase or be in short supply for others. Here are some of the products which are being impacted by the crisis.

READ ALSO: German inflation hits post-reunification high at 7.3 percent

Beer

Beer bottles from the Hofbräuhaus Munich stand in front of a logo of the brewery on the brewery's premises.

Beer bottles from the Hofbräuhaus Munich stand in front of a logo of the brewery on the brewery’s premises. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The nation’s favourite drink looks set to become more expensive.

Almost all of the raw materials needed for the brewing industry are being affected by the price increases and shortages caused by the Ukraine war. According to Focus Online, wheat, barley, glass, labels and metal for caps are in short supply.

Chief executive of the German Brewers Association Holger Eichele has said that the rising energy and raw material costs are forcing beer brewers to raise their prices, in what he called a “dramatic” situation.

“Costs are shooting through the roof, threatening to get completely out of hand,” he said.

However, the German Brewers Association have said that the crisis is unlikely to lead to shortages, as there are more than 1.500 breweries and brewpubs in Germany.

Sunflower Oil

Several sunflower oil bottles in a shop in Madrid, Spain.

Several sunflower oil bottles in a shop in Madrid, Spain. Photo: picture-alliance/ dpa | epa efe Gustavo Cuevas

Sunflower oil is particularly popular in Germany and, according to estimates by the Agricultural Market Information Company (AMI), accounts for approximately one in three bottles of cooking oil sold in the country.

READ ALSO: Why are people in Germany clearing out supermarket shelves?

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany was getting a large proportion of its sunflower oil from the two countries. But, since the outbreak of war, supply has come to a standstill and the price on the world market has doubled.

This has resulted in some shoppers resorting to panic buying and supermarkets having to ration bottles of the popular oil.

Some restaurateurs have taken French fries off their menus, while others are switching to alternative oils.

However, as Russia has now imposed an export ban on sunflower seeds and rapeseed until the end of August, prices of other oils are also expected to increase in the near future.

READ ALSO: ‘Show solidarity’: Germans urged not to panic-buy over shortage fears

Bread

A baker holds a loaf of bread in the bakery of "Der Göttinger Feuerbäcker".

A baker holds a loaf of bread in the bakery of “Der Göttinger Feuerbäcker”. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Swen Pförtner

According to the consumer price index of the Federal Statistical Office, the cost of bread was already more than five percent higher in February this year than in February 2021 and it’s likely that, in March, prices rose even further.

The main reason for the increase is the sharp rise in energy costs and also the higher minimum wages that sellers are now getting.

However, according to agricultural economists, the price of wheat accounts for less than ten percent of the cost of a bread roll.

Pasta

An employee checks soup pasta at a pasta manufacturer's factory.

An employee checks soup pasta at a pasta manufacturer’s factory. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bernd Wüstneck

According to the Association of the Grain, Milling and Starch Industry (VGMS), the war in Ukraine is having a massive impact on pasta producers in Germany.

READ ALSO: How prices in Germany will rise as the war in Ukraine continues

Managing director of the VGMS, Peter Haarbeck, told the German Press Agency that increased costs for energy supply, raw materials, packaging and logistics are having a big impact on German pasta producers and that these costs will have to be passed on to the consumers in order for them to stay in business.

Meat

 Pork and beef lie in a meat counter in a supermarket.

Pork and beef lie in a meat counter in a supermarket. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Jan Woitas

High electricity prices, as well as increasing fuel costs for feed and animal transport have been hitting the German meat industry hard over the last couple of months.

In early March Germany’s largest meat producer, Tönnies, announced that it wanted to be able to cancel contracts if necessary, while their competitor, Vion, demanded a crisis surcharge of 5.2 cents per kilograms of meat.

Last week, discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl also announced that they would have to increase prices for their meat products.

Eggs

Eggs being transported out of laying halls via a conveyor belt.

Eggs being transported out of laying halls via a conveyor belt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Matthias Bein

Just in time for Easter, many retailers across the country are increasing the cost of eggs. This is partly because chicken feed often contains corn or wheat from the Ukraine, which is now in shorter supply, and partly due to rising operating costs.

Apart from energy, fertiliser prices in agriculture have also risen enormously recently.

The ban in Germany on killing male chicks, which has been in force since January, is also playing a role, as now male chickens also have to be raised, even if they do not lay eggs.

As of February, eggs are almost twenty percent more expensive than they were a year ago.

Dairy Products

Dairy products from different manufacturers on a supermarket shelf.

Dairy products from different manufacturers on a supermarket shelf. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The cost of dairy products such as milk, butter and cheese, has been increasing for a while now, and, according to the dairy industry, is likely to continue to rise.

Chief executive of the Dairy Industry Association Eckhard Heuser told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper last week: “Prices are rising to an extent that I have not yet experienced.” He said he expected prices for UHT milk to climb above one euro in the coming months.

READ ALSO: German consumers to be hit by further price hikes in supermarkets

According to the Agricultural Market Information Company the cheapest 250-gram pack of branded butter currently costs €2.09 – 44 percent more than a year earlier.

Mustard

A man holds a bratwurst covered in mustard.

A man holds a bratwurst covered in mustard. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Hendrik Schmidt

The popular condiment could soon become significantly more expensive in Germany.

According to the food association Kulinaria, Ukraine is one of the most important suppliers of mustard seed. If supplies fail to arrive as a result of the war, mustard producers could face difficulties in the second half of the year and this could to lead to both shortages and price hikes.

READ ALSO: Will Germany reduce VAT to ease the cost of living crisis?

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TRAVEL NEWS

€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany’s cheap travel deal

Germany's €9 monthly transport ticket is coming. Here's everything you should know about the deal that will allow you to to travel the country for next to nothing this summer.

€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany's cheap travel deal

What’s all this about cheap transport?

Germany is about to launch a mega cheap transport ticket – and a lot of people are getting very excited about it.

The “€9 for 90” ticket is a monthly travel card that people can buy for just €9 per month over a three-month period. It’s a fraction of the price of a normal monthly travel card and – even more incredibly – can be used anywhere in the country on local and regional transport. 

The deal was initially announced back in April as part of an energy relief package put together by the government. And despite some anger from state leaders over funding for the scheme, the ticket cleared its final hurdle in the Bundesrat on Friday.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

So far, the €9 ticket has received a lot of publicity and attention. That’s probably because it’s one of the more fun measures to combat the energy crisis – one that doesn’t involve complicated claims and write-offs in your tax return.

Instead, the government is hoping that the new ticket will cut monthly transport costs for households and encourage people to use more eco-friendly transport options. With fuel prices spiralling, it’s a great time to leave the car at home and travel around for next to nothing, while doing your bit for the environment. 

Sounds great. Can everyone buy it?

Yes! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tourist on a weekend trip from Austria, a part-time Germany resident or Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself: everyone will be able to purchase the €9 ticket. (We imagine Olaf may already have his own transport, though.) 

It will, however, have your name on it, so it can’t be pooled between friends (as tempting as an even cheaper travel deal would be). 

READ ALSO: What tourists in Germany need to know about the €9 public transport ticket

Busy train in Stuttgart

People board a busy train in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

When will it be available?

It’s currently available in a handful of cities, including Hamburg, Stuttgart and Freiburg – but everyone else will be able to purchase it from May 23rd onwards. 

The deal itself will be a summer travel offer. That means the first monthly ticket will be valid from June 1st and the last monthly ticket will expire on August 31st. Each of the tickets will be valid for the full calendar month so you won’t be able to mix and match with existing tickets.

For example, if you’ve already bought a ticket that’s expiring in mid-June, you wouldn’t then be able to buy a €9 ticket running from the middle of June to the middle of August.

Instead, you would require two €9 tickets  for June and July – though you can get a refund for the part of the prior ticket you didn’t end up using.

Where can I get hold of it?

The ticket will be available via Deutsche Bahn’s DB Navigator app, on the DB website, at in-station terminals and at ticket desks and offices.

Regional transport operators are likely to have their own ticket purchasing options as well – most likely online, but in some cases also at ticket machines and in-station offices. 

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest.

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp von Ditfurth

What types of public transport can I use it on?

The ticket is valid throughout Germany, but only on regional and local transport.

That means you can use it on all local trains like the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, as well as on trams and buses. You can also travel on the Regionalverkehr (regional trains) across Germany. 

You can’t use the ticket for private services like Flixbus and Flixtrain or on other long-distance rail services like IC, EC and ICE trains. If you’re travelling around your state and aren’t sure if the ticket will be valid, check if the train you’re taking has an ‘RE’ in the name. That’s the shorthand for regional trains.

It probably goes without saying, but taxi services won’t be included in the price. And, yes, you will still need to pay for those e-scooters as well. 

Can I use it to travel first class?

If you’re hoping for a month of budget transport but also want to be treated like royalty whilst on board, we may have to disappoint you. The €9 ticket can only be used in second-class carriages.

This is largely because there’s likely to be huge demand for the budget offer – so there could be scuffles for first-class seats with that extra bit of legroom. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

I’ve already got an Abo. What can I do?

This has been a big concern for the folk who have already opted to pay full price for their public transport. (What fools they were…) 

Luckily, this group of keen transport users won’t miss out either. According to the DB website, people who’ve already shelled out on a monthly or annual ticket will be contacted by their local transport provider and informed about how they can get a refund.

If you’ve got a standing order set up, the transport operator will likely just debit the €9 from your account instead of the usual amount. Otherwise, you may get sent a refund via direct debit. 

Your subscription ticket will be valid for local public transport throughout Germany during the three month offer period – not just in your area.

Will students also benefit from the ticket?

Absolutely – though this is one area where things may be a little less well-organised. If you’re a student with a semester ticket, you will be entitled to a refund of the extra amount you paid, which will likely be handled by your university. 

One thing that seems a little unclear is whether the semester ticket will suddenly be valid outside of your local region, just like the €9 ticket is. We assume it will, but we’ll try to clarify this with DB and other service providers in the coming weeks. 

Can I take my bike on board?

Unfortunately, bikes aren’t included in the offer – and this seems like a deliberate choice. 

DB is recommending that people leave their bikes at home during the three months that the €9 ticket is on offer. This is because trains are likely to be extremely busy and they can’t guarantee that they’ll have room for everyone, let alone a hundred or so bikes. Instead, you can usually hire a bike at your destination.

However, if you’ve already got a subscription that allows you to take your bike with you (i.e. a student semester ticket or another type of Abo), you’ll still be able to do so. 

What about my dog? 

You will unfortunately not be able to purchase a €9 ticket in the name of Rover T. Dog (well, you could try, but it probably won’t work). However, the usual rules will apply to travelling with a furry friend. 

In some places, you may need to buy an extra dog ticket for Rover, while in others, he’ll be able to accompany you free-of-charge. 

READ ALSO: Who benefits from Germany’s €9 public transport ticket offer?

A woman carries her dog through a Berlin train station

A woman carries her onesie-clad dog in a Berlin train station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Do children need to pay for a ticket? 

Children under six can travel for free on public transport, while children over the age of six will need their own €9 ticket. 

What about seat reservations? 

Transport operators are trying to keep things as flexible as possible to cope with demand over summer, so you unfortunately won’t be able to use the ticket to reserve a seat in advance.

Won’t public transport be rammed? 

At the moment, nobody really knows. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), there could be as many as 30 million public transport users per month over summer – but this is only a rough estimate.

READ ALSO: How many people will use the €9 ticket?

One way around this is to try and travel on weekdays and off-peak services where possible and (as mentioned) to hire bikes rather than bringing them in the train.

It could also be helpful to familiarise yourself with different transport connections and routes in your area. 

The other thing that could help ease the crush on public transport is the fact that the government is also planning to cut taxes on fuel in tandem with the €9 ticket. That means that, for three months over summer, drivers will be able to get cheaper petrol and diesel – so some may indeed decide to take the car after all.

The ticket ends at the end of August. What happens next? 

Once again, it’s hard to say. Critics of the €9 ticket say that the scheme will leave gaping holes in transport budgets and could ultimately lead to ticket prices going up in autumn.

On the other hand, proponents of the offer believe that it could have the effect of luring people back to public transport after the Covid crisis. That would mean that more people would be buying subscriptions after summer and using local buses and trains, which can only be a good thing for transport budgets in the long-run. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 transport ticket

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