The skyrocketing electricity prices are threatening the survival of craft businesses. Butchers, bakers, millers, confectioners and brewers suffer. Concerns about widespread business closures are growing. The Bavarian state associations therefore make four demands.

Distress in Bavarian handicrafts: The state associations of butchers, bakers, millers, confectioners and brewers in Bavaria are sounding the alarm in view of the energy crisis. They are therefore appealing to the federal government to take measures as soon as possible to stop a further increase in costs. An Upper Franconian butcher shop is also clearly feeling the effects of the increases.

“The developments on the energy markets in recent weeks have reached a level that threatens our existence. If the costs for electricity alone multiply, then the companies simply cannot cope,” emphasizes Lars Bubnick, Managing Director of the State Guild Association for the Bavarian Butchers’ Trade, in one current press release. “If politicians don’t take countermeasures as soon as possible, plant closures will be the inevitable result.”

The “Max” butcher’s shop in Hof shows the effects of the energy price explosion. In 2021, its owner Thomas Köhn had to pay electricity costs totaling 87,950 euros. If he uses the offer price from this week for 2023, the electricity costs would be 321,034 euros. That would be additional costs of around 233,000 euros in the coming year.

But that’s not all: “We also have to contend with other price increases, for example for glasses and cans, and personnel costs are also increasing,” the company boss added in an interview with the Bavarian nutritional trades. In August, he even increased his employees’ wages, as his 70 employees are also suffering from inflation. Köhn doesn’t have many other options for reducing energy requirements. “We have products that need to be refrigerated and we can’t just unplug the cold stores.”

Markus Schuster, owner of the Schuster mill in Großaitingen in the district of Augsburg, is wondering when he should sign the electricity supply contract for the coming year. Actually, now would be the time, but Schuster is reluctant to sign a contract that would require him to pay almost three and a half times the electricity costs. In concrete figures, this means: This year he will pay 140,000 euros for electricity including ancillary costs and plus VAT. For the coming year, the offer from his energy supplier is 450,000 euros, the nutrition trades report.

“You don’t know how to do it,” says the master miller, who took over the mill, which has been in the family business since 1931, from his father in 2005. In addition to the skyrocketing energy prices, he is also struggling with the sharp rise in grain prices caused by the war in Ukraine. The Schuster Mühle has an average electricity requirement of 670,000 kilowatt hours per year.

In 2016, Schuster bought a new mill that uses 20 to 30 percent less electricity per tonne of flour than the old one, he says. Larger savings are therefore hardly possible. With its power consumption, the Schuster mill is below the average of all Bavarian mills, which are often long-established family businesses. The larger mills are therefore still affected by significantly higher energy cost increases.

“Many companies are afraid of their existence,” says Dr. Josef Rampl, Managing Director of the Bavarian Millers Association, from his members. The mills process around 1.3 million tons of local grain into food every year and are a key factor in the security of supply of staple foods in Bavaria. “We can therefore only urgently appeal to the federal government to find solutions to ensure the existence of these medium-sized companies. While the government is fighting the symptoms with aid programs, it should also urgently tackle the causes and decouple gas from electricity pricing.” , affirms Rampl in the press release.

But not only millers, but also bakers with their energy-intensive businesses are affected by the energy price increases. Stephan Kopp, managing director of the state guild association for the Bavarian bakery trade, therefore demands: “The federal government must urgently regulate energy prices. The current situation on the electricity markets is threatening the existence of the company and it threatens social peace.”

The manager of the confectioners’ guild in Bavaria, Daniela Sauer, can only agree. Many pastry shops are also facing major challenges and see their existence threatened, she explains. “We appreciate the fact that funding programs with compensatory measures should also be created for small and medium-sized companies,” says Sauer. “But they have to be designed in such a way that craft businesses actually qualify to receive the funding, and the application process should be simple and time-saving so that the application can also be managed by the small businesses.”

Stefan Stang, Managing Director of the Association of Private Breweries Bavaria e.V., points out that his industry is still struggling with the consequences of the corona pandemic, in which lockdowns have led to high sales losses. “In addition to the high energy costs, the medium-sized brewing industry has the urgent problem that there is almost no carbon dioxide available for bottling beer and other drinks. There are already several companies that can no longer produce due to this fact,” he reports. “In the current discussion, we are only talking about a single cost item, the energy costs, along with which many other costs are also increasing explosively. It’s a vicious circle, because these massive cost increases cannot be passed on 1:1 to the sales prices.”

The Bavarian nutritional trades therefore make 4 specific demands on the government:

The original of this article “More than 200,000 euros in electricity costs! Bavarian butcher sounds the alarm” comes from