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Green Week in Full Swing in Berlin

Business  (tags: Berlin, International green week, agriculture, SustainableDevelopment, food, gardening )

- 2071 days ago -
The world's biggest agricultural fair has kicked off in Berlin. With live animals and exotic food, it is set to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors. But Germany's food industry may not be as green as it seems.


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Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 7:31 am
Check out the fair's website with video of 2012 Green Week (2013 video not yet available)

Berlin's "Green Week" can be a real challenge. Visitors need comfortable shoes to make it through a total of 26 exhibition halls. And they'd probably need more than just one stomach to digest the 100,000 or so different food specialties on offer.

In one hall, pedigree horses, cows and sheep mingle with the odd alpaca from the German state of Brandenburg.

Once again, this year's Green Week has put on a show of superlatives. It boats a record number of exhibitors, 1630 to be precise from 67 countries. Kosovo and Sudan are this year's newcomers.

The continued growth of the agricultural fair is in some way also the result of a robust food industry. Despite the ongoing eurozone debt crisis, the German food industry logged a healthy 4.1-percent growth last year.

German foodstuffs a hit abroad

Agricultural produce from Germany is being sold at a premium abroad. Increasingly, German products are exported to non-European countries, including the US and Russia. The president of the German Farmers' Association, Joachim Rukwied, said the label "Made in Germany" also applied to food items and not just industry products.

"Using this label, we can really do well, considering that food products from Germany mean quality, food safety and sustainable production."

Last year, the agricultural sector created some 6,500 new jobs. But there is a growing concern within Germany's fourth largest sector. "Profit margins in the agricultural business have come under enormous pressure," said the chairman of the Federal Association of the Food Industry, Jürgen Abraham.

He attributed the pressures to higher raw material and energy costs which could only partly be passed on to consumers. Food is relativley cheap in Germany. The average household spends about 11 percent of its income on groceries. "Not much will change in this respect," Joachim Rukwied said.

Customers want transparency

But while prices are moderate and the quality of food high, transparency continues to be an issue. There are some 160,000 different food items on sale across Germany - but their exact ingredients are often murky.

In many cases, the information on food labels can be deceptive, according to Gerd Billen from a federal consumer protection watchdog. "Consumers want the labeling to be clear, understandable and honest," Billing said.

Milk which claims to be "produced in the Germans state of Brandenburg", may have been bottled some 600 kilometers (373 miles) away in Cologne and contain milk from other regions. Other products show fruits on their packaging, while they are solely made up of artificial flavors.

Faced with massive criticism from consumers, however, many producers have made the information on their packaging more transparent. Others have completely withdrawn some items from the market.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 7:36 am
If you check the USA you'll find that the only represented food there is ICECREAM (made by a local firm) :)

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 9:00 am
That last paragraph shows that things are a bit different over here from the US, we have no strong agencies working AGAINST consumers but for them if there are protests.

The green week is one of the most popular exhibitions for Berliners and visitors, people eat and drink until they almost throw up :-). My favorite was always the huge flower hall, truely a feast for the eyes but unfortunately last year's video didn't capture that.

Tim C (2420)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 12:02 pm

Frans Badenhorst (582)
Monday January 21, 2013, 3:16 am
interesting post, thanks......

Kath P (9)
Monday January 21, 2013, 4:53 am
Made in Germany has stood for a quality product as long as I can remember.

Engele van Zyl (38)
Monday January 21, 2013, 4:57 am
noted and shared, thanks for the post

donnaa D (14)
Monday January 21, 2013, 6:05 am

. (0)
Monday January 21, 2013, 2:10 pm
In all the times I have been to Germany, I was always astounded not by their meat eating, but their pork production. This is a country made up of "wursts". I have never seen a country so devoted to the seemingly endless kinds of sausages that could be bought in supermarkets, on the street, in taverns. It actually became very unappetizing.

Angelika R (143)
Monday January 21, 2013, 4:43 pm
Allan, perhaps you could have directed your view at the more appetizing sites-there are PLENTY!

linda g (3)
Monday January 21, 2013, 5:07 pm
Thanks to Angelika Roll for her personal comments; she gives the article an added energy. Especially curious is the only entry by the U.S.A. to be ICECREAM -- a favorite treat for many throughout the past century or so in America..

Fiona O (561)
Monday January 21, 2013, 6:19 pm
Green week. Green week. I cannot believe I found such an interesting article almost accidntly. Angelika, remember your friends.

Fiona O (561)
Monday January 21, 2013, 6:20 pm
I like asparagus too. Even the purple spears are a great symbol for green.

Angelika R (143)
Monday January 21, 2013, 6:50 pm
I LOVE asparagus, white, green, purple-whatever, not only a delicacy but also so rich of potassium and other mineral nutrients

Judy C (91)
Monday January 21, 2013, 11:42 pm
This event is truly massive! This was a very interesting article. The video on your link is working now, as is another one on the history of Green Week. Both were good to watch. I wondered if there is any emphasis in the events or panels on world hunger, and related issues such as technology and food distribution as ways to assist less fortunate populations. Thanks, Angelika.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 1:43 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Judy because you have done so within the last week.
Judy, yes there are, but these talks are held in separate symposium features with participants from most parties and other orgs.
I am happy that at least our consumer protection works excellent, quite contrary to the US!

marie C (163)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 3:22 pm
Noted interesting article.
Certainly not animal friendly
I enjoy German food but you can not be weight conscious

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday January 22, 2013, 4:45 pm
Right, Marie, I also strongly dislike it that they display live animals there, although the kids love it.

Dana W (9)
Friday January 25, 2013, 7:43 pm
Sounds cool - wish I could participate!

Angelika R (143)
Friday January 25, 2013, 8:04 pm
With the Green Week now about to end, officials have just announced a new labeling all parties have agreed on for even more transparency: a so called BLUE WINDOW, that tells you at first glance that the product is indeed LOCAL produced and not from some other region within Germany.(like the milk mentioned above in the article.)

Klaus Peters (14)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 7:12 am
As you know Angelika, I am "gebürtiger Berliner". I would have so much liked to have been there and tasted a few "Deutsche Würstchen" I miss them so much. We just cannot get the same here in Australia. My mouth is watering: Bockwurst, Schinkenwurst, Wiener, Knackwurst, Frankfurter und nicht zu vergessen Nürnberger Bratwürstl mit mehrmals erwärmten Sauerkraut, Kassler Ripchen, auch Berliner Eisbein mit Sauerkraut und einem Schultheiss Bier, and so many more, I am so home sick after reading this. All memories hit me at once.
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