Georgofili World

Newsletter of the Georgofili Academy

Germany risks being left without sauerkraut

Cabbage is the quintessential German vegetable.
An essential part in Bavarian cuisine, it is appreciated all over Germany.
It is not by chance that, in the United Kingdom as well as in other parts of the world, Germans have been jokingly nicknamed “krauts”.
However, there is beginning to be a sauerkraut shortage in the land of Krauts.
In fact, farmers have had a particularly poor harvest of red cabbage and the green cabbage used for sauerkraut.
“Half of the red and white cabbage harvest has been lost,” explained the Federal Association of Fruit, Vegetable, and Potato Processors, which has warned of the risk of a snowball effect on prices.
Red cabbage could start to run low beginning in May and green cabbage in July.
Does this mean that this year we will have a Christmas without red cabbage or an Oktoberfest without sauerkraut?
The “Handelsblatt” newspaper asked Stefan Leitz, CEO of the food company Kuehne, about the possible repercussions bad harvests can have for German consumers. 
In an interview, Leitz confirmed, “we are facing a true emergency in the German countryside. Some colleagues who have been working in this sector for over thirty years do not recall ever having seen such a situation before.”
Last year’s bad drought hit the south of Germany in particular and hindered the crop growth.
To cope with the crop losses suffered by his suppliers, Leitz will be forced to buy cabbages on the open market at a price of four and five times higher than the norm, because other producers want to absolutely corner the market for this rare vegetable.
In the medium term, sales prices will also go up, although not as much as buying prices.
“In this season, buyers will not notice the difference very much, but there may later be a rise in prices because we will be unable to offset the rise in costs by just improving efficiency,” Leitz observed.
In any case, nobody will have to give up eating the typical Christmas roast with red cabbage this year because, at the moment, we can still count on last year’s remaining supplies.
Cabbage lovers, nevertheless, must hope for a rainier summer.

From AGREPRESS, foreign press release No 1148, 27 January 2016