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A Change of Perspective: Germany a Look at Positive Developments through Challenging Times

16th November 2020

Hannah Barkhoff, Market Specialist DACH, Bord Bia - The Irish Food Board

The past months have been challenging, that’s quite evident. However, through challenges emerge also positives. A Focusing on good news for now, some positive developments from across the German food and drink industry:

  1. Quality Food and Quality Time: 30% of Germans are cooking more from scratch than pre-pandemic and 28% report that they are focusing more on cooking together with partners and family. Due to home-office working, closed foodservice operations and time to try out new things in the kitchen, the desire and want to spend quality time together in the kitchen and cooking with high quality ingredients is growing (Bord Bia, 2020)

 2. On the flipside, this is of course an immediate result of the Nationwide German foodservice closures, leaving millions of German foodservice operators with fear of future operating feasibility. Governmental financial  supports are in liaison, including payments of 75% of revenue made this time last year being made to operations and continued support through “Kurzarbeit” (short-term working payment) subsistence’s granted to operations (DEHOGA). A positive development and similar to innovative supports seen in the Irish gastronomy sector including cooperation of competitors and utilising own clout and platforms to support competition, German foodservice operators as well as individual producers, through coopetition and solidarity are also coming together to overcome together, the hardships they face through this second lockdown.

a. German Gin company Social Dry Gin, with it’s new “Quarantini” Gin, is donating €5-€15 per bottle to the German gastronomy industry and is utilising their clout, social media and comms. to highlight new  “to-go” and lockdown solutions across German gastronomy players.

b. Burger King Germany, through their latest marketing campaign is calling on consumers to eat at their direct and indirect competition once foodservice reopens. This initiative has had a knock-on effect with impactful messaging from Germany’s leading restaurants and restauranteurs supporting each other and operating along the “Gemeinsam Stark” (Strong together) movement taking place across the German foodservice industry (FoodService.de).

3. Sustainability moves up the Agenda: A trend that has globally been on the forefront of the food and drink industry far before COVID impacts, has since the beginning of 2020 seen a stark increased focus across the German food and drink sector. One in two consumers is now happy to switch to lesser known brands, if these have higher sustainability standards and credentials – a move away from consumer brand loyalty in the name of sustainability and an opportunity for Irish producers (Lebensmittelzeitung). Animal Welfare (84%), sustainable production (76%) and Origin (39%) have increased in importance to consumers since beginning of the pandemic (BMEL). Looking into food-waste, 91% of Germans say that they now focus less on the best before date and are willing to utilise products after this, given it still tastes fine.  Digital innovations and start-up apps such as “Too good to go” are enabling this food-waste revolution with clear indication, that the sustainability agenda and awareness around sustainable production will grow further  on consumer and trade level and will remain a top priority post-COVID-19 (FoodService.de). This is also clearly evident on retail level, with National retailers increasing their communication and focus on sustainability noticeable. Lidl Germany is one example, having  recently launched it’s 2030 Sustainability Strategy, aligning with UN Sustainable Development Goals (Unternehmen Lidl).

There is no disputing, that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the biggest challenges the global food and drink industry has had to face. And with increasing clarity that it will continue to impact not only the food and drink industry, it is vital for business to remember to seek a new PERSPECTIVE look at challenges with a new lens and see the positive developments that are evident. Vital in order to face the hardships, see through the challenges, regain energy for innovation and turning challenges into opportunities. Business opportunities as well as personal opportunities.  

Sources:

(1)    Bord Bia COVID Toolkit

(2)    DEHOGA

(3)    Lebensmittelzeitung

(4)    BMEL Ernährungsreport 2020Lebensmittelzeitung

(5)    FoodService.de

(6)    SocialDryGin.de

(7)    ToGoodToGo.de

(8)    Unternehmen Lidl