Here in Germany one of the biggest German supermarket chains, Edeka, has decided to no longer sell Nestle products. Around 163 products in total are banned from Edeka from now on. The reason is that Nestle is charging to much for their products and the supermarket chain Edeka is not willing to pay this price. This is a real retail war between Edeka and Nestle at the moment with a classic scenario.
Here are some news articles on this (in German only unfortunately):
- Edeka und der Nestlé-Boykott: „Am Ende des Tages bestimmt der Verbraucher, ob er den Supermarkt wechselt“ on Absatzwirtschaft.de
- Drastische Maßnahme: Edeka boykottiert Nestlé on Utopia.de
Edeka and Nestle: Lower prices are not enough
But some consumers are actually going one step further. They are demanding that Edeka should not just demand lower purchase prices. There is a strong voice on Twitter and Facebook that want to Edeka to make a stand and go ahead and demand Nestle to do better in in sustainability related areas too. These include fair worker rights, more sustainable business practices and more. This is the Twitter hashtag for Edeka. And this is the Facebook hashtag search for Edeka. Most of it is in German of course. But I am sure you will see where this is going towards.
I personally believe that this conflict between Edeka and Nestle is an interesting development in two ways.
(1) Consumers are are able to see how powerful and at the same time irresponsible Nestle has become over the past years. Despite all their sustainability efforts Nestle is after one thing only: To make as much money as possible no matter what the consequences.
(2) Edeka has an opportunity to increase its popularity with us as German consumers. Now is the time to widen the discussion about their pricing to demand more sustainability related actions from Nestle. Examples include better traceability of their suppliers for various products, more transparency about their efforts to clean up their products from a sustainability point of view, etc.. These kind of demands from Edeka towards Nestle would be truly be a change in German retail conflicts.
But reality tells us a different story unfortunately
But we also have to be realistic. The most likely outcome is that Edeka and Nestle will find some kind of compromise and the 163 odd products will be on the shelf next week. For me this would be a missed chance. Retailers like Unilever so doing so much more to be more sustainable. Nestle looks to me to just do greenwashing to be honest and are not practising what business and sustainability should really be like in my view. But I hope I helped to change this by writing this post. All feedback is very welcome of course, here as a comment below, on Twitter or on Facebook.