ÜSurprise in the refrigerated section: While most products in supermarkets and discount stores are becoming more and more expensive, meat prices are just starting to slide. The discounter Aldi reduced numerous fresh meat products on Monday – from mixed minced meat to beef steak. The retailer is thus passing on falling purchase prices to customers and making a contribution to reducing inflation, said a company spokesman on behalf of Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd in Essen.
Aldi’s step is also likely to have an impact on large parts of the rest of the trade. After all, many competitors, especially in the entry-level price range, are still orienting themselves towards the inventor of the discount. Germany’s largest food retailer Edeka announced: “We also value good value for money and will adjust the prices for some meat products to the new market situation in the coming days.” The discounter Netto, which belongs to the Edeka Group, made a similar statement. The competitor Rewe explained: “We are constantly in talks with our suppliers regarding the cost situation and market development and of course pass on possible price reductions directly to our customers.”
The price reductions are noticeable in the wallet, especially during the barbecue season: the price for 500 grams of mixed minced meat fell from 4.59 euros to 3.99 euros. Bratwurst from pork in the 400 gram pack was reduced from 3.49 to 2.99 euros. The price for a kilo of beef steaks fell from 27.99 euros to 24.99 euros.
“Despite the good barbecue weather, not really going yet”
However, consumers could also use some relief. According to the Federal Statistical Office, meat had become particularly expensive in the first five months of this year. In May 2022, meat was 16.5 percent more expensive on average than a year earlier. By way of comparison, the prices of all groceries had risen by just over 11 percent during this period.
But the upward trend seems to have been broken for the time being. “After there was initially a significant increase in the market at the beginning of the year, we are currently seeing base prices falling again, especially for pork,” reported Aldi. This is not least due to the still high overcapacities in Germany.
There are a number of reasons for the overcapacity in meat production. Meat consumption in Germany has been declining for some time. According to the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, it was 55 kilograms last year. Ten years earlier it was 7.8 kilograms more per person per year. Instead, the business with vegan and vegetarian meat substitutes is booming.
In addition, the high inflation is apparently spoiling the desire for sausages, chops and steaks for many people at the moment. “Despite the good barbecue weather, demand is not really picking up yet,” observed the agricultural information service AMI. According to a representative Forsa survey published a few weeks ago, 42 percent of people in Germany have reduced their meat and fish consumption in order to cook more economically. In addition, the previously flourishing export business of the German meat industry is still suffering from the outbreak of African swine fever.
The bottom line is that the meat industry in Germany lost further sales last year. The larger companies with at least 20 employees still made 40.6 billion euros in sales. That was 8.8 percent less than in 2020 and even 11.2 percent less than in the record year 2019, as reported by the Federal Statistical Office.