1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

German minister warns against renewed panic-buying

October 18, 2020

Supermarkets have raised flags about a spike in demand for goods like toilet paper, which saw severe shortages during lockdown. Germany's agriculture minister said hoarding was "illogical" and "lacked solidarity."

A person carries several packages of toilet paper outside a German supermarket on March 18, 2020
Image: Rene Traut/dpa/picture-alliance

Germany's Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner urged consumers on Sunday to avoid stockpiling, as coronavirus infections have risen and with it, anxiety levels about possible lockdowns. 

In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Klöckner tried to assuage fears by reminding Germans that the pandemic did not affect or endanger the food supply chain. The disruptions, instead, are brought on by consumer activity. 

The agriculture minister spoke specifically about hamsterkauf, a German term that defines panic-buying and became one of the symbols of the pandemic lockdown experience in Germany.

Read more:Coronavirus scare: When will 'hamsterkauf' become an English word?

"Whoever is hoarding is not only acting illogically, but lacking solidarity. And in the end, many of these goods end up in the garbage can," Klöckner said. 

Her comments come as large supermarket chains such as Aldi and Edeka reported a sharp rising demand for certain products, a pattern similar to what happened in March in the lead-up to lockdown measures being imposed.

Klöckner said that stores will remain well-stocked as long as people don't hoardImage: picture alliance/ROPI/Furlan/Fotogramma

Buyers should 'shop like they normally do'

On social media, many German users have been posting photos of shelves empty of toilet paper — one consumer product that saw severe shortages in the spring. 

Read more: Coronavirus: Popcorn or detergent? European shopping varies on lockdown

Klöckner added the spring lockdown experience had proven that economies can ride out a pandemic, that consumers could trust that policymakers and business leaders to manage the crisis responsibly.  

In particular, she pointed that EU commitment to not impose border closures again provided more confidence about the flow of commerce within the bloc. As such, worries that worsening outbreaks would cause bottlenecks in the supply chain of consumer goods were unfounded, Klöckner said.  

Bottom line, the Agriculture Minister said: "if everyone shops like they normally do, we won't have to face the prospect of empty shelves." 

jcg/rs (dpa AFP) 

Skip next section Explore more

Explore more

Show more stories
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Skip next section More stories from DW