French retailers take producers and consumers to task

"Are more regional products and more reasonable prices for agriculture possible in the retail trade??" this question discussed mdb stefan muller in view of the continuing protests from the agricultural sector now in the context of visits with two coarse food retailers in his electoral district. His preliminary conclusion: there are certainly opportunities, but everyone has to get moving. Not least the consumer.

Debates about the value of food and criticism from the agricultural sector about the lack of appreciation of their work have been going on for a long time and continue to do so. According to a press release from his office, this was reason enough for erlangen's member of the german bundestag, stefan muller (CSU), to listen to the opinions of two major food retailers from his constituency, after many discussions with farmers. The member of parliament discussed these issues in depth with matthias zwingel, operator of nine rewe stores in the region, and pascal bachmann, operator of two large edeka stores in erlangen and herzogenaurach, during visits to their businesses.

It became clear that, on the one hand, the individual traders have a rough understanding of the problems faced by regional farmers, but on the other hand, the question was raised as to whether all farms had already recognized the absolute necessity of thinking much more strongly in terms of business management. The role of trade has always been to mediate between end customers and producers. He said that time and again, customers knew too little about the conditions of agricultural production and, conversely, many farmers did not correctly assess the consumption behavior of the population.

Price dictate is said to be a myth

More regionality in the range of products on offer and more reasonable prices for the producers are definitely also in their interest, say the two merchants in agreement. That the trade dictates prices and fills its pockets at the expense of the farmers, however, they refer to the realm of myths. This does not correspond to the reality that determines their everyday lives. On the contrary, the lack of knowledge about the quality and supply of food is a constant problem.

Zwingel, in his capacity as vice president of the federal association of german food retailers, therefore calls for an "everyday skills" training program in the schools from the first to the twelfth, respectively, to the 13. Class of the year. This was the only way to stimulate long-term changes in behavior at the societal level. One of the results of the exchange was that there were ways to achieve more regionality and more reasonable prices for producers – provided that everyone played their part: the producers themselves, the trade, and also the consumers.

Muller's conclusion: "in a market economy, there is no option – which is apparently again tempting for some – of a political price dictate. That is also correct. But it is just as right to strengthen our regional producers. We as consumers have it in our hands. If we increase demand for these products, even though they are a bit more expensive, producers and retailers will adapt to them fairly quickly."

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