With less than a month to go before the general elections in Germany, electoral propaganda posters are already part of the German landscape. For the German fruit smoothie firm True Fruits, it has served to inspire their latest marketing offensive. But almost more than advertising their brand, what they have generated is controversial.
The True Fruits campaign identifies each bottle of a flavor with a political party with representation in the Bundestag, the Lower House of the German Parliament whose seat is the Reichstag. There are, therefore, ideologically ordering from left to right, bottles with a flavor designating the leftist Die Linke party, others the Greens, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the liberals of the FDP, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). ) and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
At True Fruits, that must have seemed like a good idea to sell products in these times, marked by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s withdrawal from politics after the September 26 elections. But they can not only speak in True Fruits about sales associated with their campaign. There has also been a confrontation between the juice brand and one of its most important points of sale.
Because the supermarket cooperative Edeka has not followed the game of True Fruits. At least not at all. Edeka, belonging to the eponymous group, is the largest player in the food retail sector in Germany. His is 27.1% of the Teutonic market, according to data from the Statista portal.
The chain, which employs some 402,000 people and is a major importer of Spanish fruit and vegetable products, has refused to present True Fruits juices with the AfD label on its refrigerated shelves. “The extreme right has no place on our shelves,” they affirm from Edeka through their social networks. This is how they explain why they are not selling bottles with their AfD “flavored” juice these days.
“Thank you for the supply of True Fruits juices. We have not ordered the AfD bottles, we return them”, reads the message published by Edeka a few days ago with which the controversy has been unleashed. Seeing their campaign disappointed, True Fruits, a company based in Bonn, signed a harsh response against Edeka.
“Dear Edeka, yes, for us AfD sucks [sic]. But the training is more important than the social signaling, which is what you are trying ”, reads the reaction in the networks of the beverage company. To this, in Edeka they responded: “On our shelves there is no room for political training.”
At True Fruits they hide behind giving “training” on their juice bottles because they supposedly raised some points of the programs of the main German political parties. However, the fragments of the programs published in those containers do not stand up to close reading. No one who has stopped for a bit to compare bottles and programs misses that detail. This is how the economic pages of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper highlighted it these days.
For example, on the bottle of the conservative CDU party, Chancellor Merkel’s, it reads that “drinks and foods with a lot of sugar will have more taxes.” In those of the liberals of the FDP, it is read that “the minimum wage will be abolished.” But neither conservatives nor liberals raise that, as the German edition of the economic publication Business Insider recently pointed out.
In the case of AfD, True Fruits did manage to point out two of the points of their current electoral program that attract the most attention. Namely, leaving the European Union and returning from military service. Getting this right does not exempt True Fruits from providing dubious “political training” in its campaign.
Because although they defend in the juice company that they have limited themselves to raising information related to all the parties present in the Bundestag, the truth is that they have forgotten the also conservative Bavarian Social Christian Union (CSU). This formation is twinned to Merkel’s CDU and has its own deputies in the Teutonic Lower House. Among the bottles of True Fruits there are no containers that read what the CSU has to offer its constituents for the September polls.
For the real political formation, the Germans have, among other bodies, specific institutions such as the Federal Agency for Civic Education (BpB, for its German acronym). Due to their format, and their notable errors or omissions, True Fruits bottles do not seem to be up to par with the products published by BpB.
However, at least in networks, it is the Edeka supermarket chain that has had to face reproaches such as that of a “deficit understanding of democracy”, according to the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel. For not wanting to sell the AfD bottles, Edeka has also been accused of adhering to the “cancellation culture”.
Whether or not this is the case, the AfD seem to celebrate Edeka’s decision, on the one hand, and the True Fruits campaign, on the other. The campaign is seen as “publicity” in this party that entered the Bundestag after the 2017 elections with a markedly xenophobic discourse.
AfD is the most extreme formation of the German Parliament. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the name given to the intelligence services of the German Ministry of the Interior, has long valued putting the far-right party under surveillance as “unconstitutional.” Such vigilance is already a reality in several German Länder, especially in East Germany, where the party has more roots.