editor Bureau Berlin
The cucumber has been occupying German social media for days. A video went viral on TikTok in which a shelf with cucumbers has a price tag of 3.29 euros. The caption reads: “I thought it wasn’t true, this can only be a joke.”
The videos on TikTok about the Salatgurken are very well viewed, ranging from 10,000 to a few million viewers per video. Twitter is also participating in the search. Meanwhile, the newspaper Die Welt already calls the cucumber a Social Media Star.
Russian gas and bad harvest
The high cucumber price is not isolated; this week, the German National Statistics Office announced that food prices rose by 21.8 percent in February. In January this was 20.2 percent. By comparison, food prices in the Netherlands rose by 15.1 percent in February compared to a year earlier. In January it was 14.5 percent.
As in the Netherlands, rising inflation in Germany is mainly caused by raw material prices, which have risen sharply due to the war in Ukraine. According to Christoph-Martin Mai of the statistics office, there are several causes for the differences in the inflation figures between the Netherlands and Germany. “Germany was more dependent on Russian gas than the Netherlands. In addition, goods can be imported to the Netherlands by sea, while in Germany they often come by land. Gas prices also play a role here.”
For cucumbers, things are a bit more complicated. Udo Hemmerling of the German Farmers’ Union says that the way of growing also plays a role. “Cucumbers can only be grown here in greenhouses at this time of year. But the heating costs are so high that a number of growers have even stopped producing. In addition, the cucumber harvest in Southern Europe and North Africa was poor this year due to particularly cold weather.”
The above-average increase in food prices comes at a time when a large group of Germans are already struggling to keep their heads above water. One in six Germans now lives around the poverty line.
Economists do not expect an improvement in the short term. Although the German central bank expects inflation to decline slowly in 2023, this does not mean that price increases will be completely over.
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