This paper presents the results of a representative survey conducted in 1985 with 40 chief buyers of the central organizations in German food retailing. The study was initiated by Hildmann, Simon, Rempen & Schmitz/SMS and conducted by GfK. The retail outlets that form part of the 40 central organizations represent a retail sales volume of 100 billion DM. Thus, the coverage of the sample amounted to 83 per cent. For methodological reasons the Aldi discount chain and the department stores were not included in the study (their purchasing patterns differ). The survey investigates trade/manufacturer relationships from the trade point of view and therefore gives every manufacturer important hints on how to organize their trade marketing so as to take account of the notions and wishes of the trade.