Germany orders trainloads of pasta, gives small boost to Italy’s economy

BERLIN: Giant discount retailer Aldi said on Thursday it is laying on extra trains packed full of pasta from Italy to restock shelves after German shoppers stripped stores of non-perishable goods in the coronavirus pandemic.

The first trains carried 200 tonnes of pasta, including “way more” than 250,000 packets of spaghetti, Aldi Sued, which runs the discount stores in the south of Germany, said in a blog post.

The company said trucks were also used to bring in the replenishments, which were driven to the city of Nuremberg and then distributed to 650 Aldi stores.

“Longer-lasting foods such as pasta are currently in more demand than ever,” Aldi said, adding that it will continue to buy pasta from its supplier in the town of Nola in the Naples area.

“There is no need to ‘hamster’ pasta,” the company said, using the German word that means to stockpile.

The German government and retailers have said that there is no shortage of food despite the coronavirus pandemic, which causes disruption in cross-border passenger traffic. Companies and authorities are keen to maintain a free flow of goods.

But many Germans – like their counterparts in other European countries – have hoarded items like pasta, toilet paper or canned foods. Some supermarkets have limited the amount of goods shoppers can buy.

The high demand ahead of anticipated lock-down and quarantine measures caused German retail sales in February to surge far beyond expectations, official data showed this week.