On Saturday, I went to the grocery store with my host dad and host sister. Our outing began by putting all of our glass and plastic bottles in the trunk of the car. Then, we drove to the grocery store. We went to a REWE, which is a supermarket chain in Germany. Once we got there, we grabbed a cart from outside and put our bottle stash inside of the cart. Inside grocery stores are machines that recycle glass and plastic bottles. Most of the time, when you buy a bottle, you pay a tax on it, and when you put the bottle in the machine, it reads a barcode and will give you that money back. It’s a nice way to incentivize people to recycle!
The grocery store itself was a little smaller than grocery stores in the U.S., but it wasn’t tiny, either. One of the first things I noticed was the egg display, which was sitting in the middle of the large entrance walkway, completely unrefrigerated. This was strange for me because in the U.S. eggs are always chilled, so I did some research. Apparently, the U.S. washes their eggs with steamy hot water that also washes away a barely visible sheen. This sheen naturally protects the egg from bacteria, so we then have to refrigerate them to keep the bacteria out. Meanwhile, in Europe chickens are vaccinated against bacteria (such as salmonella), so the eggs don’t need to be power-washed. It also takes more energy to refrigerate eggs throughout the entire supply chain, but it boosts their shelf life. Basically, there are two ways to deal with salmonella/other bacteria, but both work just fine.
As we walked through the grocery store, I noticed a lot of interesting things, but one thing that made me super excited was the variety of juice that they had! I didn’t even know it was possible to make banana juice before coming to Germany, but I’m so glad I know now. They also sold rhubarb juice, white peach juice, and passion fruit juice. I can’t wait to try all of them!
On the way to the cashier, we passed through an entire aisle of water. Nothing else, just water. Some water was sparkling, some was still, but all of them sat in crates bordering us on both sides. I thought it was a little strange to have so much water, but I think Germans drink a lot more sparkling water than we do in the U.S.
While checking out, you’re expected to bag your own groceries, and most people bring their own reusable bags. I think that this is better than using five or six plastic bags each time you go grocery shopping in the U.S.
With that, our trip to the Supermarkt was over. I had a lot of fun observing the differences between German supermarkets and the ones back home, and I loved seeing all of the new things! I’m excited to try lots of new foods while I’m here.
Until next time,