Images of an empty supermarket in Hamburg are creating quite a buzz on social media in Germany. Were shelves cleared because the food was free? Wantonly wasted? Ransacked by hungry children? None of the above.
Instead, EDEKA—one of Germany's biggest grocery chains—is trying to make a point about diversity and racism.
Products originating from outside of Germany were taken off of shelves and replaced with signs saying, "This shelf is pretty boring without diversity," "Our range now knows borders", "This is how empty a shelf is without foreigners," and "We will be poorer without diversity," The Independent reported.
And while The Independent also reported that "surprised shoppers entered the store to find that much of the normal selection was gone," EDEKA spokesperson Gernot Kasel told MUNCHIES that the images are actually from "a film set for a new video we are currently working on."
The video will be part of a larger campaign highlighting Germany's reliance on foods and ingredients from other countries.
"EDEKA stands for variety and diversity. In our stores we sell numerous foods which are produced in the various regions of Germany," Gernot said. "But only together with products from other countries it is possible to create the unique variety, that our consumers value. We are pleased that our campaign caused so many positive reactions."
Positive reactions came from high places, too. Julia Klöckner, a member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party, praised the symbolism of EDEKA's campaign, hailing it as a "wise move."
Of course, not all reactions were positive. Marcus Pretzell, member of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, responded to Klöckner's tweet by asking, "Why exactly is this wise? Is it not rather completely mistaken?" The AfD has been gaining traction in Germany ever since Angela Merkel's decision to let in hundreds of thousands of refugees in 2015.
Still, if there's one thing that will get people's attention, it's taking food off of their grocery shelves, and EDEKA seems to have succeeded in getting the attention of both sides of this national debate.