Germany faces Easter 'without chocolate' as EU supply issues spiral


The German confectionery industry has warned that supply chains are no longer working, cutting off supplies of raw materials and packaging necessary for popular Easter treats like chocolate bunnies. It comes just as one of the most important sales periods for the industry approaches, and the confectionery industry is desperately calling for a reduction in EU bureaucracy to help.

Dr Casten Bernoth, general manager of the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI), said to German newspaper Die Welt: “The market for important raw materials has been swept empty, long-standing supply chains no longer work.

“This can also have consequences for the upcoming Easter business, for example that not all popular products such as chocolate bunnies can be produced as planned because important raw materials, packaging materials or freight capacities are not available in sufficient quantities.”

The key raw materials that the industry is struggling to obtain include wheat, soy and sugar.

According to a study by market researchers from NielsenIQ on behalf of the international confectionery trade association Sweets Global Network, seasonal events like Easter are crucial for confectionery businesses.

The study showed that, for instance, during Christmas 2021, the sales figures for confectionery and snacks in Germany were 47 percent higher than in an average month.

This is followed by Easter, which saw a 21 percent higher sales level last year.

Confectionery accounts for around ten percent of the sales of Germany’s supermarkets and discounters.

Demand is already high for Easter products this year, and increased production is underway.

However, it remains unclear whether the wishes of all traders will be able to be fulfilled.

The difficult situation has been exacerbated by the Omicron variant, which threatens increased absences due to sickness and quarantine requirements.

The BDSI report that there are already temporary delivery bottlenecks due to outbreaks.

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However, Stefan Genth, General Manager of the German Retail Association, downplayed the threat to the industry, saying to Die Welt: “We’re not worried about empty shelves.”w

He stated that while there were problems with individual products, “most of the time, however, there are alternatives if something is actually missing.”

The BDSI reports that the German confectionery industry struggles with exporting their products within the EU, adding further pressure.

This is due to different rules in individual countries for various factors such as nutritional value, environmental or recycling labels.

Dr Bernoth said: “In the worst case, they now have to provide their own packaging for each member state.

“We demand that European politicians create uniform framework conditions for companies which national politicians on the European internal market take seriously.

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“The breaking point has been reached.

“Politicians are now called upon to protect medium-sized companies in particular from further costly and bureaucratic burdens.”

Dr Bernoth adds that the German confectionery industry has the highest electricity prices in the country.

Within twelve months, the price of electricity for industrial customers in Germany has doubled.

Dr Bernoth said: “Politicians must regain awareness that the topic of energy is not only relevant for climate policy, but also for the future of Germany as a business location.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.


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