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Food & Beverages

German Food & Beverages News | Spring 2021

Germany's food and beverage sector has been an unlikely winner in the Covid-19 crisis, with organic and fair trade produce proving popular as the population takes convenience and delivery services to their hearts.

Organic and fair trade dominate consumer food trends

Organic and fair trade are currently the most important trends in the German food trade according to the latest "Consumer Insights and Food Trends 2021" report from market research provider Quantilope. Organic foodstuffs, regional cultivation and fair trade are the issues uppermost in the minds of German food consumers, recording the greatest market growth potential in 2021 alongside issues of sustainability and sustainable production. Food brand commitment to sustainability is “important” or “very important” for more than half of all consumers, with use of the “fair trade” product seal and the Demeter association seal being particularly associated with high sustainability.

Record year for organic food sales

Germany’s organic food market enjoyed record turnover of almost EUR 15 billion in 2020 – equivalent to a 20 percent increase in revenue. According to the Federation of the Organic Food Industry (BÖLW), the sector grew twice as fast as the food market as a whole. The BÖLW reports that the industry was able to cope with increased demand thanks to many farms converting to organic production in recent in years, with more than 35,000 farms managing almost 1.7 million hectares of land in 2020.

Organically farmed land now accounts for in the region of 10 percent of all agricultural land in the country. Direct and online marketing products and services including “organic baskets” flourished, with consumers preferring to avoid large supermarkets to avoid potential risk of Covid-19 infection. A growing section of the public also prefers to buy direct from the producer, followed by specialist organic retailers and weekly markets.

Meat alternatives thrive as meat consumption drops to decade low

Per capita meat consumption in Germany fell to a decade low in 2020, with 57.3 kg consumption lower than at any time since 1989 according to the Federal Agricultural Information Center (BZL). Consumption of vegetarian spreads, tofu and soya patties is booming, with Germany leading in the field for meat alternatives in Europe. In 2019, the market enjoyed a record year with annual turnover of EUR 273 million – equivalent to an annual growth of 76 percent.

Online grocery sales almost double in year

The online grocery sector has emerged as one of the biggest winners of the coronavirus crisis, with German consumers buying almost twice as much pasta, meat, fruit and vegetables online as they did in the previous year according to e-commerce association bevh. The Covid-19 crisis has brought an end to traditional consumer reluctance to buy groceries online, with several retailers unable to meet the surge in demand. Supermarket giant REWE is the acknowledged market leader, with Germany’s largest grocery retailer Edeka extending its own delivery portfolio beyond its Berlin and Munich-only Bringmeister service with a stake in online supermarket delivery provider Picnic.

Online delivery service Gorillas – which promises to deliver orders to the doorstep in 10 minutes – recently became the first German start-up to achieve unicorn status within a year. The Berlin start-up has also secured EUR 244 million in funding, with ambitious plans to expand in Europe and enter the US market in New York. Russian provider GetFaster, which similarly promises to deliver within 10 minutes, started operations in North Rhine-Westphalia at the end of 2020. Bremen-based omnichannel provider My Enso allows consumers to configure their own “virtual supermarket,” determining assortment, ordering and delivery processes. 

According to a forecast made by the Cologne Center for Research in Retailing, the online grocery sales market will account for around 3.6 percent of total grocery sales 2025.

Food delivery services thrive in coronavirus crisis

Food delivery service providers have benefited from the coronavirus crisis. In Q4/2020, Germany’s biggest provider Lieferando saw platform orders increase to 56 million – equivalent to a year-on-year increase of 56 percent. A number of new food-order platform providers – including App Smart, Simply Delivery and Discoeat – that leave delivery entirely to the restauranteurs have also sprung up to provide an alternative to full-service providers like Lieferando and Wolt.

Supermarket chain Tegut moves into convenience food sector

Swiss-owned supermarket chain Tegut recently opened its first “Tegut Quartier” convenience store in Fulda as part of a new food-to-go concept. The 340 sqm store provides customers on their way to or enjoying a break from work with an array of ready-to-eat dishes and snacks that can be directly eaten on the premises or taken away. Cooking facilities are also available for meals requiring minimal preparation. As well as free Wi-Fi provision, the prototype store also provides USB sockets to cater to customer’s digital needs.

De Niro's Nobu Chain to open first German hotel in Hamburg

Nobu Hospitality is set to open its first hotel and restaurant in Germany at the Elbtower in Hamburg. The Nobu Hotel Elbtower Hamburg, situated in the David Chipperfield-designed Elbtower, will boast 191 rooms and suites as well as a 200-seat Nobu restaurant, terrace bar and lounge overlooking the River Elbe.The hospitality brand, founded by actor Robert De Niro alongside Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teiper, will see the hotel open in 2025 on completion.

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