Why is food so cheap in Germany?

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I’m doing my grocery shopping daily as we’re sharing only a very small fridge. Just before coming here I was staying for a few days in France. I could not help but notice how prices here are significantly lower. In some cases prices are even lower than in Hungary or Romania. I have also noticed that basic products such as milk, eggs, yoghurt, flour, sugar etc cost the same to the cent in most stores. Why is that happening?

This problem has multiple facets as I’ve found out: cultural and competitive.

Germans traditionally don’t like spending money on food. In other words they were/are searching for low prices. Quality and shopping experience comes in second.

This is where comes in Aldi and LIDL. Most stores here seem to be discount stores, not classic supermarkets, the aforementioned two having huge market shares.

They have introduced their own branded products for the basic stuff I was talking about (but even mozzarella) and then the other supermarkets had to follow. So now it doesn’t matter if you go to Rewe or Aldi or LIDL, you can buy the supermarket branded milk at the same price: 59 cents. Mozzarella? The same, 59 cents.

Yesterday there was some promotion on Coke Zero at LIDL: 0.6 euros a can, of which 0.25 is the cost of the can, which I will get back after I put it in the recycling-o-mat. Not bad at all.

This whole scenario seems surreal in France. If you go to LIDL you will have lower prices. Not Germany-low as the competition on price is not so fierce, but lower nonetheless. Shall you step food in a Monop’ or Franprix, don’t be surprised if you will pay 1 euro for a can of coke, if you buy only one that is. In France you have much more variety in shopping experience. And for this experience you pay dearly if you end up in a grocery store on the higher-end of the spectrum. Beware.

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