German Supermarket Clears Shelves to Make a Statement on Racism

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Wegmans)

A Germany grocery store has made a strong statement on racism and xenophobia by modifying their supermarket’s product lineup.

Edeka, one of Germany’s largest grocers, recently pulled all foreign food items from the shelves at their store in Hamburg. The stint lasted one day, but it showed consumers how limited their culinary choices would be if diversity were eliminated from the food world.

The impacted shelves and areas — like cheese, tomatoes, olives — were replaced with a signs reading: “Without diversity, this shelf is rather boring” or “Our selection knows borders today.”

“Edeka stands for diversity, and we produce a wide range of food in our assortment, which is produced in the different regions of Germany,” Edka says in a statement. “But it is together with products from other countries that we create the unique diversity that our customers value. We are delighted to have received a lot of positive feedback regarding Saturday’s action.”

Sven Schmidt, a Hamburg IT administrator, tweeted the image that went viral. Schmidt told BBC Three that despite being shared across Twitter, his feed also had some negative responses.

“Looking at the mentions of hate and lack of understanding of other people I got, I’m happy that I posted [the pictures] and showed my two cents against [the] racists, even though I know it was mainly about diversity,” he says.

The visual impact of the images from Hamburg are strong, so shoppers in the market were likely faced with the inconvenient reality of what a world without diversity would be like.