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German supermarket chain Edeka is sending a message to customers in the run-up to the country's federal election.

Melissa Locker
Updated August 24, 2017

Shoppers visiting Hamburg’s Edeka supermarket this week were greeted by empty shelves. There were no Greek olives or French cheeses, Italian oils or Spanish tomatoes. All that was left were products made in Germany.

Edeka wasn’t having issues with its supply chain, but instead was using the items on its shelves—or the lack thereof—to make a very serious point about diversity, by emptying its store of any foreign products. Instead of delicious items from around the world, customers were greeted with signs reading “Without diversity, this shelf is rather boring” or “Our selection knows borders today,” Metro UK reports.

“Edeka stands for diversity, and we produce a wide range of food in our assortment, which is produced in the different regions of Germany,” an Edeka spokesman said. “But it is together with products from other countries that we create the unique diversity that our customers value.” Germany is the world’s third largest importer of goods overall, bringing in $30.4 billion in vegetable products and $32.8 billion in foodstuffs, per MIT. So, as evidenced by the photographs customers posted on social media, the shelves at Edeka were quite sparse.

The issues of immigration and global diversity have been hot topics in German politics (and many other countries) of late, especially in the wake of Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to open the country’s doors to refugees fleeing war in Syria. A spokesman for Edeka told the Telegraph that the empty shelf campaign generated a great deal of buzz for the company, much of which was positive feedback from customers.

While there’s little doubt that Edeka likely lost profits during its political display, the supermarket chain is expected to continue clearing its shelves around the country. According to The Telegraph, Edeka will recreate the stunt in other parts of Germany during the run up to Germany’s federal elections which take place next month.