In the food trade, consumers are threatened with another wave of price increases. "In Germany alone, as the Rewe Group, we have price increases of more than one billion euros for branded companies on the table for the first quarter," said Rewe boss Lionel Souque of the German Press Agency. The retail giant will not participate.
"We cannot and do not want to raise prices as much as the industry is demanding. People don't have that much money," explained the manager. As early as 2022, Rewe had prevented the implementation of more than half of the price demands of the manufacturers through tough negotiations.
"Especially large, international consumer goods manufacturers are still trying to increase their profit margins in the current situation and are demanding price increases that are not justified," said Souque. This leads to conflicts and sometimes to gaps in the shelves due to delivery stops or delisting.
"But if we had just nodded off everything the corporations were asking for, the price increases in our stores would be twice as high as they are now - and they are already high enough." According to the Federal Statistical Office, food prices in November 2022 were 21.1 percent higher than in November 2021.
Mutual finger pointing between dealers and industry
Souque is not alone in his criticism of brand manufacturers. Edeka boss Markus Mosa also made a similar statement. The Markenverband as an association of brand manufacturers has rejected the allegations in an open letter to the German food trade.
In it, CEO Christian Köhler wrote: "The accusation by parts of the trade that industry is the driver of inflation blatantly contradicts the facts." The prices for the private labels of the manufacturers have recently risen even more than those of the branded companies.
The Rewe boss emphasized that inflation had noticeably changed the purchasing behavior of customers. "People are definitely buying more special offers. Especially where the price increases for branded goods were too high for them, they are also increasingly switching to private labels." There is also a slight tendency to shop more in discount stores than in supermarkets. "The discounters are gaining market shares overall this year compared to the supermarkets, but the specialist trade in particular is losing."