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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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UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

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