Grocery shopping in Bonn Not only candy bars are in short supply
Bonn · Supermarkets in Bonn are running out of products from the manufacturer Mars, which includes more than sweets. The supermarket chains are responding by displaying products from their own store line more prominently.
The supermarket chains Edeka and Rewe are no longer receiving goods from the food and pet food manufacturer Mars, because they refuse to accept the latest price increases. And so the shelves are gradually getting emptier in the Bonn supermarkets. Local retailers are trying to offer their customers substitute products. The mood fluctuates between annoyance and understanding, because supply bottlenecks are becoming more and more frequent.
Long list of products from one manufacturer
The list of products coming from the manufacturer Mars is long. Snickers, Wrigley's, pet food from Whiskas and Pedigree, Mirácoli and rice from Uncle Ben's. They are all disappearing from the shelves in Bonn at the moment. From time to time, there are still some remaining deliveries that reach the stores. However, not only the owner-operated supermarkets are affected, but also the associated discounter chains such as Netto (Edeka) and Penny (Rewe). Anyone who visits them, whether in Beuel, Hardtberg or in Bad Godesberg, discovers only price labels on the shelves.
"In every corner, something is empty at the moment," says Christopher Mohr of the Edeka stores in the region. It’s true that sometimes customers cannot put the usual products in their shopping cart. "But we have enough alternative products on offer." Instead of Uncle Ben's microwave rice, for example, Mohr then displays the store's own brand “Gut und Günstig” more prominently.
Despite the size of the company, Mohr can’t do much in the face of the price war. Like his colleagues, he purchases goods from Edeka headquarters. The advantage: because negotiations are conducted on a large scale there, the purchase prices are better for the supermarket operators. In addition, the retailers benefit from Edeka's well-developed logistics. The Rewe stores, whose headquarters are in Cologne, operate on a similar principle.
The price war between manufacturers and sellers has been raging for about three months now and is in the cent range, but this has a big impact in large quantities. Prices are negotiated at regular intervals. While Mars points to increased costs, especially for energy and transportation, distributors say the latest price demands are unjustified and the justification for the size of the price increase is pretextual. "Basically, we are confronted with further waves of price demands," says Rewe spokeswoman Christiane Preisen. In part, she says, the demands can be understood, but in part they cannot. "It cannot be that our customers are burdened more than absolutely necessary in these difficult times." That is why the company accepts that its own margins will be reduced.
Rewe responds to the delivery stop the same as at Edeka: It highlights its own brands. Edeka subsidiary Netto, for example, is promoting its own "Creamy" bar as a Snickers alternative. "In the past few weeks, we have seen that some of our private labels have increased by double-digit percentages," says Rewe spokesperson Preisen.
Aldi and Lidl are also experiencing delivery delays time and again, but this is currently more likely due to disrupted supply chains. "Individual items may still be out of stock for a short time due to the current situation," explains an Aldi spokesperson. In Lidl stores in Bonn, some bread products were recently in short supply, but there were also gaps in oil product supply. "Usually, however, this situation is very short-lived and resolved in the following days," says a Lidl cashier.
Customers handle the shortages in different ways. Mohr reports that as a salesperson, you are the first point of contact and as such, have many conversations. "We have been very spoiled with our shelves over the years. It doesn’t mean that one is starving now, but customers are not used to gaps in the assortment," explains Mohr. Coca-Cola and Granini recently had tough negotiations; during the pandemic and the war in Ukraine war, toilet paper, pasta and flour were out of stock.
After shopping, a young Bonn resident in the parking lot says he noticed the empty shelves, but hadn't yet been too affected by them. "For energy drinks, the selection was smaller and there was a special brand of toast missing." One woman reports trying to switch to other products from the store’s own line. "Often, after all, they come from the same factory, taste almost the same, and they're cheaper." In general, she pays more attention to prices, because a lot of things are becoming more expensive. "That's why I think the retailers' taking a hard line is good." Another woman was looking in vain for cat food. "The animals are a bit spoiled and only like the one kind, which makes it difficult for me now." She would also pay a little more if it meant merchandise was available again. (Orig. text: Nicolas Ottersbach / Translation: ck)