Mark Rosenkranz knows what drives his customers: “The price is hot again,” says the spokesman for the board of Edeka Minden Hannover. On Wednesday, the Federal Statistical Office reported an inflation rate of 7.4 percent for April, with food prices even increasing by 8.6 percent. On average. Oils now cost 27 percent, meat almost 12 percent more than a year ago. This leaves its mark on customers and dealers. “Everyone is vying for the favor of consumers,” said Rosencrantz on Thursday at the presentation of the annual figures in Minden, “and that’s mainly about the price.”

Rosencrantz knows what he is talking about. Edeka is the largest food retailer in Germany, the regional company Minden-Hannover, which includes the Edeka markets, the Edeka centers, the NP and Marktkauf branches in Berlin and Brandenburg, is the regional company with the highest turnover in the cooperative association. The almost 78,000 stores turned over eleven billion euros in the Corona year 2021, an increase of 3.5 percent. All food retailers throughout Germany have benefited from the lockdowns caused by the pandemic, including the market leader. The fact that people were not able to go to the restaurant for months and ate in the home office instead of in the canteen has also brought magnificent profits to Edeka Minden Hannover. Earnings before taxes rose by 27 percent to 215 million euros.

But now the cards are being reshuffled. Rosenkranz will be happy if he can keep up with last year’s sales this year. “We are doing everything we can not to pass on all price increases,” promises the manager. Rewe boss Lionel Souque recently reported that he had waived a three-digit million amount to slow down price increases. Edeka is also taking part in the price war: 7,000 items from the “Gut und Billig” brand are no more expensive than at discounters, Rosenkranz assures. He not only has Aldi and Lidl in mind, but also Kaufland. Because the supermarket chain, like Edeka, has a larger range than the discounters and is a tough competitor, especially in Berlin with its many branches. Edeka had sent a clear declaration of war to all its competitors before Easter. The packet of Kerrygold butter was temporarily available in the stores for EUR 1.49, which was significantly cheaper than elsewhere.

Customers are reacting: They are increasingly buying products from the “Good and Cheap” range. Beef, which has become visibly more expensive in recent weeks, is now being left behind, but customers are now turning to cheaper pork again, if they still buy meat at all.

In order to support better husbandry conditions, Edeka now only sells pig and poultry products from husbandry level two, where the animals have a little more space than required by law. In the future, the requirements will continue to rise and meat will only come from husbandry levels three and four. But when that is feasible, Rosenkranz leaves open.

One thing is clear: not only meat should be more organic. Organic food is generally expected to increase by 20 percent this year. The group soon wants to produce its own organic baked goods and offer them in the self-service area, at the Schäfer’s subsidiary or as frozen goods. In addition, one thinks about the fact that the own butcher company “Bauerngut” should also produce meat substitutes in the future.

Compared to the figures from the Federal Statistical Office, Edeka customers get away with it more cheaply, emphasizes Rosenkranz. Edeka has put together its own shopping basket, filled with the chain’s best-selling products. For the Edeka shopping basket, prices rose by 4.8 percent in March compared to the previous year, and by around five percent in April.

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But not only the price, also the availability is an important point in the battle for customers. Here even members of the cooperative had the impression that the shelves at Edeka were less well stocked than, for example, at the discounters. Rosenkranz then had samples taken for weeks and came to the conclusion that the impression was deceptive. In addition, the situation seems to be relaxing again. Even sunflower oil is back. “Anyone can buy oil and pasta,” emphasizes Rosenkranz, and the shortage of flour has also been put into perspective. “The food supply is guaranteed,” he says, but you have to get used to the fact that not everything is available in all variants at all times.

Despite the tense situation, Rosenkranz wants to invest. In 2021, the number of stores had already risen from 1,469 to 1,480. The new locations also include “lighthouses” such as the Edeka Center Heerstraße in Berlin-Spandau. In Schwedt, Falkensee and Rangsdorf, Edeka wants to take over the current Real locations this year. The Real branches in Teltow and Potsdam have belonged to Edeka since last year and have been modernized in some places. Now it’s time for the fundamental remodeling. The E Center Potsdam will be closed and renovated for four weeks starting next week, Teltow is expected to be in the second half of the year.

Edeka Minden Hannover wants to invest 477 million euros this year, 18 million euros more than in the previous year. The NP branches disappear and become “Nah und gut” markets, the former Kaiser’s Tengelmann locations are to be taken over by the market managers as start-ups. Edeka also wants to promote cashless shopping, the “Easy Shopper”, where customers scan the goods before they put them in the shopping basket and then pay by credit card or direct debit.


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