Many South African products can be bought online. For those items you cannot find in Germany, most have a substitute. We list our substitute suggestions here,
It is very easy to become overwhelmed when you first go grocery shopping in Germany. The layout of the shops is different, many of the products you know are not available and you have no idea what plastic wrap is called in German.
We hope the information on this page helps you with your shopping experiences. We listed popular shops, as well as options to have groceries delivered to your home.
When it comes to buying groceries, you have a number of options available to you.
Depending on your budget and shopping habits, you may prefer to shop at mid-range stores, where you can find various high-quality products at reasonable prices.
If saving money is your top priority, you might opt for discounters that offer slightly lower prices, but still maintain a good selection of items. In most of these shops, it is all about savings, and not about the shopping experience. The shopping shelves can look untidy and disorderly.
If you want to buy in bulk, or if you have a larger family to feed, you might consider shopping at wholesale retailers where you can find even better deals on larger quantities of food. To shop at these you will need a business licence/Gewerbeschein (at Metro) or Client card/Kundenkarte (at Selgros). They operate similar to Makro in South Africa
Good to know
- Shopping carts or trolley works with a coin deposit system. You can also buy plastic tokens to use.
- Bring your own shopping bags with you. You can buy at the counter but it is sometimes frowned upon, and you also pay for the bags.
- You have to pack your own bags at the till. Some cashiers, especially at discounters, are extremely fast at scanning products and you can feel a bit overwhelmed to keep up. The best advice is to be prepared. Either put your bags in the trolley, open them, and pack them as fast as you can, or just put everything directly into the trolley and pack your groceries into bags later. Another option is to go with another person like your spouse, one person pack and one person handles the payment.
- If you do need more time to pack your items, put them spaced out on the conveyor belt, and also in the order you would want to pack them
- Most plastic and glass bottles have a deposit or Pfand on them. You get your deposit back when you hand in the bottles at participating shops. Most have automated machines or Pfandautomaten. After depositing the bottles, you will get a “Bon” that you use to get your money back at the cashier.
- If you buy fresh produce, you might have to weigh them yourself and stick the price label on the bag. Some shops sell reusable veggie bags.
- You can buy beer and other alcohol inside a grocery shop
- You cannot buy medication at a grocery shop, not even aspirin.
- Cigarettes and vape juice are packed at the tills
- At some stores, you can withdraw money at the cashier. There might be a minimum amount that you have to spend and also a maximum amount that you can withdraw. See the individual stores for more information. Here is an example from Rewe – Kostenlos Bargeld abheben
To help you navigate the products in the shops, we created substitute lists for known South African products
Quality of produce
If you are looking for top-notch products that guarantee quality and exceptional taste, then it is highly recommended that you choose to buy local and seasonal produce. Not only does this option ensure that you are selecting the freshest fruits and vegetables available but it also helps support local farmers and their communities. It is also essential to note that some imported fruits may lack flavor when compared to locally sourced options. Thus, it would be wise to always check where your fruits come from to ensure that you get the best quality and flavor. An example of this is when fruit is shipped to Germany; most of it goes through artificial ripening techniques such as Ethylene gas. While this process does ripen the fruit, it is done at the expense of its taste, leading to the fruit being unappetizing and lacking its natural sweetness. Therefore, buying local and seasonal fruits is always the best option for quality assurance and exceptional taste.
Bioladen or Biomärkte sells organic products.
A Hofladen is a type of farm stand that sells produce directly from a farm. By definition: “A shop that is part of a farm and mainly sells its own products directly”.
The main advantages are that you know where the produce comes from, it is fresh as it doesn’t need to be transported over long periods of time and you can sometimes even pick the produce yourself.
Meat and Fish
We have a page with information about meat cuts, as well as where to buy meat, fish and seafood
Below are pages related to seasonal and local vegetables
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