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South Africans in Germany

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

Substitutes and Food Info

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,

Product Substitutes

Most products we know in South Africa are available in Germany, but unfortunately not all of them. Here is a list of product substitutes  for some

Buying online

Most of the shops listed above have online shops that deliver to your door. 
For a limited list of items and fast delivery, you can use apps like Flink, WoltGorillasPiCniC or Flaschenpost

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


German meat cuts are different from those in South Africa. South Africa tends to follow the British way of cutting meat.Below is a explanation of the


Below are pages related to seasonal and local vegetables


Pumpkin season in Germany is from July to January. In Germany, it is called Kürbiszeit Some facts about pumpkins Pumpkins belong to the Squash (Cucurbita)


Potatoes are staple food in Germany.  You will find it as a side to almost any dish you order in a restaurant.  The good news

Spargel – the German white gold

Bis Johanni – nicht vergessen – sieben Wochen Spargel essen! The Asparagus season in Germany starts towards the end of April and ends on the

Related pages

South African Recipes

Click here to submit your recipe Seasonal recipes Resources on the web Ina Paarman Pinterest – on the Braai Jan Braai Watertand resepte vir oud en

German Cuisine and Recipes

Many will describe German food as hearty, heavy and unrefined. Comfort food comes to mind, as many dishes are based on starch. But I think


Shopping in Germany can be a daunting experience if you are not familiar with how things work here. The worst is probably grocery shopping. In