Excitement about student food at Edeka – that’s what the manufacturer says

An Edeka in Bavaria has added “student food” to its range – and received excited reactions online. Here one of the product inventors explains how the idea for the gendered raisin-nut mixture came about.

The use of the gender asterisk is seen by some (and some) as an affront per se. When a venerable institution like the Studentenfutter is also affected, some asterisk opponents can no longer hold back. At least that’s how it seems when you read the posts that a product called “student food” has triggered on social networks in the past few days.

At the end of last week, Edeka Wollny from Friedberg near Augsburg posted a picture of the gendered snack classic on Facebook and Twitter, which can now be bought in his store. The reactions were not long in coming. In addition to hundreds of laughing and hearty emojis, numerous angry users also vented in the comments. “To the shame of others!” or “Write it in real German or we won’t buy it anymore” and even more unfriendly comments can be read there.

Edeka store manager Michael Wollny is clearly enjoying the controversy, as can be seen from his humorous responses to the sometimes funny, sometimes angry comments. The question of what else is in the glass besides nuts is answered with: Sultanas and salt – “biologically obtained from the tears of old white men who feel oppressed by the gender star.”

That’s what the manufacturer says

But who actually came up with the “student food”? The manufacturer is the small company Fairfood Freiburg, which specializes in fair-trade, sustainable nut snacks with an organic seal and sells them in a deposit jar.

There one is surprised by the verbal violence of some of the reactions. “The hatred surprises me. I think it’s a shame that the discussion is so heated and even with threats of violence,” says Fairfood co-founder Mark Schwippert zum stern. “With the product name, we wanted to encourage people to think about gender equality and did so with a wink.”

It is clear to Schwippert that not everyone can do something with gender language. In his company, which has mostly young employees, gendering has long been part of everyday life. Instead of customer service, there is customer service there. The products sometimes have male names like “Sir Salty”, sometimes feminine names like “Wilde Rosmarie”. The range also includes spicy cashews called “Pfefferheld * in”.

“Why not gender nuts?”

The Freiburg-based company brought the “student food” to the market in the spring. It is mainly sold in organic and unpackaged stores, in some Edekas in the region and in their own online shop. So far there has been no anger about the idiosyncratic name, says Schwippert. Since the debate on Facebook was boiling, there have now been a few angry emails or a one-star rating on the Internet.

Above all, the 33-year-old would like more serenity for the public discussion of gender language. He is by no means demanding that all of the Studentenfutter have to be renamed. “But if a company has a lot of customers, why not gender nuts?”

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