Are prices going up? Katharina de Jonge also notes this. However, the operator of a French delicatessen in Stuttgart, “Chez Ginette”, did not remain indignant in her reaction. In no other country in Europe is so little money spent on food as in Germany.

2.60 to 6.90 euros for 100 g of cheese? I can understand it when people stand in our store and say that it’s too expensive for them. On the one hand …

Our range of baked goods, mustard and wine is of high quality and mostly comes directly from the manufacturer, for example from a Paris wholesale market. There are things that we don’t even see on the table every day at home. Especially since we, with two small children, are of course noticing the current price increases… Especially in the supermarket.

The iceberg lettuce recently for 2.50 euros? I feel like many people: I was shocked. What a rip off! In this particular case, that was probably true. But it would be wrong then to join in this general whining about increased food prices. It is true that for a long time the prices on the weekly market have been around the same level that has been seen in the supermarkets in recent weeks. I don’t buy iceberg lettuce here for 2.50 euros. With lamb’s lettuce, something like this does happen.

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You can call that luxury. Or, if you think about it more carefully: reasonable. The pineapple from the fruit dealer for seven euros is incredibly juicy and sweet, has no bruises or even mold spots. I used to pick up a pineapple from the supermarket for three or four euros. And then? Half was inedible and ended up in the bin. The other half hardly tasted like anything. That means: the bottom line is that with more expensive ones, you often drive even cheaper.

What do we want? Good quality goods from appreciative production? Or mass and as cheap as possible? For me, the current situation is a reason to pause. A really good matured cheese has its price. How often do I experience this when we have invited friends. When it comes to cheese, some people seem almost overwhelmed by the intensity of the taste experience.

You don’t need much of it, this aha experience is often the next step. Yes, of course, that’s real cheese, I don’t give you food for thought. I think it is important to be aware of such differences. Because with the different perception comes a different appreciation. And in situations like this, that might bring us back to earth a bit.

The fact is: In hardly any other European country do people spend so little money on food compared to other consumer spending as they do in Germany. According to the EU statistical authority Eurostat, in 2020 it was 12 percent. For comparison: the French have 15 percent, Greeks 19.4 percent and Romanians even 26.4 percent.

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Greed is cool? I don’t see it that way, especially when it comes to food. Where the cheese is lined up in the supermarket, we present it individually in our shop on etagères or in small baskets. You eat with your eyes, people elsewhere know better. No, it’s not about chi-chi, it’s about setting priorities: What is quality worth when it comes to food? Or, if you will, a good life?

The opening of “La Chinette” six and a half years ago had a lot to do with the desire to pass it on. A large part of my family comes from France, spread across the country, from Lyon to Paris to Toulouse. Numerous visits to various aunts and uncles and cousins ​​have shaped me, even as a child I was constantly amazed at the differences.

Some sounds cliche, I know. About parking. In front, on the other hand, in the back, the car is standing still and is now a bit more dented – that’s how it works in France. And then they walk straight into this store to buy cheese and red wine and they spend really, really big money on that.

In the evening the neighbors come, you sit together at the table for many hours and enjoy. Sure: Pondering what you eat is part of the conversation. Which kind of car do you drive? I’ve never experienced anything like that ever being an issue in France. In Germany, on the other hand, talking shop about the vehicle fleet is part of the standard social repertoire.

And the pattern “little shell, much content” seems to run through numerous areas of life. After school I worked for a year in a French star kitchen in Lyon. The slicing machine was getting on in years, the products that were processed with it were right at the top. Similar to my aunt, with whom I lived during my year abroad: The fridge was filled with the most delicious and freshest things. The fridge itself was… shall we say, incidental.

I have no idea how German star kitchens are equipped like this. But I have my suspicions and I often have to think about Lyon and my aunt’s slicer and fridge these days. Without wanting to belittle the drama of the current situation: I believe there are advantages in tackling the issue of price increases in retail in a different, more conscious manner. As an individual. Like as a society.

As far as the latter is concerned, I find it significant that, for a number of years, the law in France has prohibited supermarkets from simply throwing away food because of visual defects and the like. The goods must be donated to a charitable organization and are then delivered to Tafeln, for example. What a contrast: in Germany it is punishable by law to fish out sorted food from supermarket containers. In France it is a criminal offense to sort out goods!

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