German shop shows true prices as an experiment: “Meat 188 percent more expensive if we included all costs”


Two price tags

Customers of the German supermarket chain Penny have recently seen two price tags in the store. In addition to the normal price of cheese or meat, they now also display the real price. They don’t have to pay that more expensive price, but they are reminded of what those products should cost if all environmental and climate costs are included.

“The supermarket is doing that because there is a real problem in the food industry,” says Pierre-Alexandre Billiet of retail organization Gondola. “Food products are often more expensive than the cost price that the consumer pays in the supermarket.” In other words, food is too cheap. “That is of course double because consumers already have the feeling that everything is getting more expensive, but the real production cost is often a lot higher than what we pay now.”

Huge price difference

According to Gondola, the price difference cannot be underestimated. “Our meat would become 188% more expensive if we included all costs. That sounds like music to the ears of vegetarians, but make no mistake. Lettuce and potato should also be 20-30% more expensive. We import cheap apples from abroad while we produce enough apples ourselves, but they are now once more expensive and the consumer is not always willing to pay for it. ”

Real prices would therefore be a lot higher. But why do we then pay such a wrong price in the supermarket? “This has to do with two things. On the one hand we import cheap products from distant countries, which means we are used to a cheaper price. On the other hand, industrialization has ensured that we produce on a huge scale and therefore have low prices.”

Will we also pay that higher price in the future? “With campaigns like this we are encouraged to question our food chain. Consumers want a quality product and we see that they are increasingly willing to pay for it.”


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