Calls for a price cap on soaring kebab costs in Germany

Arif Keles, a third-generation barbecue snack bar owner poses next to the doner kebab meat skewer in Berlin  (AFP via Getty Images)
Arif Keles, a third-generation barbecue snack bar owner poses next to the doner kebab meat skewer in Berlin (AFP via Getty Images)

German politicians are calling for a price cap on the doner kebab, with chancellor Olaf Scholz admitting that the question of what has been dubbed “donerflation” is one he gets asked “wherever I go”.

The far-left Die Linke party has put forward a proposal for the introduction of a doner kebab price cap similar to that introduced in some parts of the country to high rents.

Millions of kebabs are consumed in Germany every day – including 400,00 daily doners in Berlin – in an industry that is estimated to be worth more than €7bn (£6bn).

But faced with a cost of living crisis, Germans are being forced to pay up to €10 for a kebab that cost just €4 two years ago.

Die Linke has proposed installing a €4.90 price cap for the kebab, as well as €2.90 cap for young people, especially those from lower-income backgrounds, for whom it claims the dish is a daily staple.

Donerflation, or the rapidly rising cost of doner kebabs, has become one of Germany’s most arresting problems – and it is one that has incensed the younger members of the country.

The dish, which is made up of a folded flatbread stuffed with thinly-sliced meat topped with vegetables and garlic or chili sauce, was introduced to Germany by Turkish immigrants, who adapted it for local tastes.

After Mr Scholz posted on social media to explain that donerflation was due to rising wage and energy costs, a result of weaning off Russian gas following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a young German Turk responded by demanding Mr Scholz “speak to Putin [because] I want to pay €4”.

Mr Scholz said it was “quite striking” that everywhere he went, he was being asked about a price brake for the doner.

Even Hanna Steinmuller, an MP for the Greens, a party that usually appeals to people to give up meat, felt the need to address this issue in parliament.

“For young people right now it is an issue as important as where they will move when they leave home,” she said.

“I know it’s not an everyday issue for many people here and that … it’s also something that might be ridiculed, but I think as voter representatives we are obliged to highlight these different perspectives.”

Some young people have called for the return of Angela Merkel, the former chancellor of Germany, arguing that Mr Scholz’s predecessor “had the doner under control”.

But doner sellers remain sceptical that prices could ever be fixed. Deniz, a seller at a kiosk near Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse station, told The Guardian: “People talk to us all the time about donerflation, as if we were diddling them, but it’s completely out of our control.”