Strange but familiar
Germany’s economy was booming. The country desperately needed labourers and therefore began to invite Gastarbeiter – guest workers, predominantly from the Mediterranean region – to the country starting in the early 1950s. Those who did not want to earn their living down the mine or on the production line simply opened a restaurant with a name like “Roma”, “Olympia” or “Black Sea” and brought with them a little piece of holiday atmosphere right to the Germans’ doorstep. Italian cuisine had an extremely large influence on local eating habits. “Classics such as spaghetti and pizza still enjoy a great deal of popularity among Germans,” says Peter Kluth, senior culinary advisor of METRO Cash & Carry Germany. According to a recent study by online market research company Marketagent.com, 46.1 percent of those surveyed named pasta as their favourite food, with pizza coming in second at 37.3 percent.
Gourmet and alternative
While it was the flavours of Italy and the Balkans that were making waves at the start of the 1960s, two new trends appeared in German cuisine a decade later. French nouvelle cuisine became an absolute favourite, at least for those who could afford it. With delicatessen and expensive foods, eating became about more than simply satisfying hunger. At the other end of the scale was the development of an alternative form of nutrition that was particularly popular among students, laying the foundation for the organic movement. This new style involved muesli, raw vegetables and vegetarian dishes, and ignored traditional meal times and seating arrangements.
Quick and practical
In the 1970s, a new form of cuisine started to prevail that still influences what we eat today: fast food. In 1971, the first McDonald’s opened in Germany. This was merely the start of the fast food sectors unstoppable success. Kebab shops, home delivery services and home caterers are also among the innovations of this period. But now speed was also the key when it came to cooking at home. Convenience food and frozen goods began to enjoy increasing popularity, mainly during the working week. We currently consume 40.4 kilograms of such food per capita annually, and this number rises every year.