Village defined as representative of whole country by statisticians leading to view it could be useful gauge of how Germans will behave in upcoming polls

As Angelika Schneide pushed her trolley down the ice-cream aisle in Haßloch’s supermarket, she hovered over an unfamiliar flavour. “This is the fun of shopping here,” Schneide, 46, said, putting a tub in her trolley. “We get to try everything out.”

Haßloch, a large village in the south-western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, enjoys the title of “most average place in Germany”. Using a list of criteria – including age, income, education and marital status – statisticians determined years ago that its 21,000 inhabitants were broadly representative of the whole of Germany. In the mid-1980s, the Society for Consumer Research (GfK) picked it as the place to test out new products.

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