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MONEY

What to know about the latest price hikes in German supermarkets

The cost of food and drink has been rocketing in Germany in recent months. We lay out some of the latest price hikes that may affect how you shop.

A man holds a Bratwurst with mustard in Saxony.
A man holds a Bratwurst with mustard in Saxony. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Hendrik Schmidt

Supermarkets have been hiking up the cost of grocery products as inflation rises.  And it’s hard to escape – all branches of Aldi Süd, Aldi Nord, Lidl, Penny, Rewe, Edeka, Kaufland, Hit – and others – are affected.

German news site Focus Online gathered together a number of groceries going up in cost. We take a look at some of them, and how you can save money.

Butter

The price of butter has climbed to over €3 in many places. For a pack of Irish Butter from Kerrygold, consumers now have to pay around €3.39 instead of €2.89, from the previous week. That’s a price increase of 17 percent.

Own-brand butter is cheaper at Aldi Süd, Aldi Nord, Lidl, Penny and Netto Marken-Discount. Consumers save about 30 cents compared to the branded product. But here, too, the 250 gram pack became 20 cents more expensive – it’s going up to around €2.29.

READ ALSO: The grocery products in Germany getting more expensive

Milk (Milch)

Customers at Aldi and Lidl are facing price hikes on milk. The milk of the own brands Milfina and Milbona climbed from 88 cents to 92 cents. For the light version (1.5 percent fat content), you no longer pay 80 cents at the discounter, but 88 cents. That’s a price increase of 10 percent.

The price development at brand manufacturers such as Weihenstephan, Bärenmarke and Landliebe is similar. A litre of milk is now priced at about €1.49. Last week, the upper limit was still €1.29. The price has climbed by about 16 percent in the last few days.

A shopper walks round a supermarket in Neubiberg, Bavaria.

A shopper walks round a supermarket in Neubiberg, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Sour cream (Saure Sahne)

Sour cream is also more expensive now – prices have climbed by around 20 percent across the board. Sour cream from Milsani (Aldi Süd), Ja (Rewe) or Milbona (Lidl) still cost 42 cents last week. The new price is now 55 cents – an increase of 12 cents.

The branded product from Andechser (Natur Bio-Sauerrahm) is available at Edeka and Rewe stores for 99 cents. Last week, the product cost 85 cents.

Mustard (Senf)

The medium hot mustard from Rewe’s own-brand – Ja – has been hiked up in price. The jar no longer costs 29 cents – instead it’s 49 cents. This represents a price increase of 60 percent within the past week. Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd, Penny, Lidl and Netto Marken-Discount also increased the price of their low-priced mustard own brands by about 20 cents.

READ ALSO: Will Germany see a mustard shortage?

Breadcrumbs (Paniermehl)

If you want to bread a schnitzel, you have to dig deeper into your pocket because the cost of breadcrumbs (as well as meat) is going up. 

Since last Thursday, the price of breadcrumbs has increased by 10 cents across the board. The cheapest product available is at discount supermarkets for 89 cents. The more expensive branded product is about €1.89.

Meat (Fleisch)

Rewe in Munich is charging €5.29 for a 400 gram pack of chicken schnitzel from its own brand Wilhelm Brandenburg. The week before, the price was €4.59. Edeka now charges €2.99 for its Bockwürstchen in a jar. Previously, the pack was available for €2.75.

Overall, consumers have had to pay more for meat in the frozen and refrigerated counters of discounters and supermarkets since last week. The price increases range from 40 cents to €1.60.

Discounter Aldi Nord, for example, no longer charges €5.99 for its own-brand bockwurst Gut Drei Eichen – it’s now €7.19.

How you can save at the supermarket

Many of us do it anyway, but now is the time to be searching out for special offers. You could also think about buying own brands more often. 

Pay attention to the best-before dates and only buy as much as you can and want to consume within a certain period of time. As a rule, consumers shouldn’t hoard items because it causes supply issues, and it can contribute to waste.

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

Brochures, which can be found either in paper form or digitally, can also be helpful. You can find them in shops, in weekly newspapers or in the Apple and Google app stores. You can also get a hold of vouchers and discount codes this way. 

In drugstore branches in Germany, voucher cards are often found on the shelf, which can also contribute to discounts. Plus, take advantage of online voucher offers to get a better price. Many retailers also use apps to attract customers. 

Don’t forget to keep a hold of your old bottles and claim back the Pfand (deposit). When you submit your empty bottles or cans, you get a receipt which you can use to either claim back the cash or to get money off your shopping. 

READ ALSO: Six essential tips on how to save money on your groceries

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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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