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Production of bread Production of bread | © Eric Gevaert -

Food & Beverage Industry

Supplying the Full Spectrum of Consumer Needs

Few industries are as broad as the food & beverage industry, but Germany does well on all fronts: confectionery, convenience, frozen, and chilled foods.

Our market - Europe's largest - brings almost every international food player here; everyone wants a taste. This strength is only expected to improve as consumption trends and the good reputation of our products promise higher future sales. For investors, the time is ripe. A mainly fragmented industry allows overseas investors access to the market, its distribution channels, and its technological capabilities.

Video News: Germany's Growing Market for Meatless

The trend toward veganism and vegetarianism is creating tons of business opportunities for international companies with a presence in the country.

Meatless on More and More German Menus

With increasing numbers of people turning partially or completely vegetarian and vegan, the plant-based food market is expanding rapidly in Germany. International companies like Switzerland’s Planted are taking advantage.

Food News | June 2022

Germany's booming food market is attracting international investors in production, corporate catering and the gastronomy sectors.

Jack Link’s invests in production in Guben

Global branded protein snack producer Jack Link’s plans to invest in a six-hectare production facility in Guben, Brandenburg. The investment will initially create 160 new jobs, with more to come as production is expanded in the future. Jack Link’s produces the popular BiFi sausage snack sold in Germany. Production is expected to begin as early as 2023. Jack Link’s chose the Brandenburg town based on suitable settlement sites, a highly qualified workforce and excellent connection to Poland. The company employs 3,500 people worldwide and already has a production site in Ansbach, Bavaria.

Picnic to build e-food warehouse in Oberhausen

Dutch online supermarket company Picnic is expanding its German business with supermarket giant Edeka, building its first fully automated warehouse in Germany in Oberhausen. According to the company, the 50,000 sqm facility will be the biggest e-food warehouse in the European Union with the highest level of automation in the world. The delivery service is investing around EUR 150 million in the project which is being financed by Germany’s publicly owned KfW bank. More than 1,500 robots and 21 km of conveyor belts should allow Picnic to deliver food to around 200,00 families from the end of 2024. The development will create around new 2,000 jobs.

One in three Germans buy groceries online

Around one in three Germans buy at least part of their daily grocery needs online according to a new Appinio and Spryker study. Around one in five consumers can imagine ordering all of their groceries online within the next two years. Time and convenience were cited as the main reasons for online grocery shopping. According to the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Association (BEVH), the domestic grocery market generates turnover between EUR 200 billion and EUR 300 billion annually. Current forecasts anticipate online grocery sales growing to EUR 5 billion in 2022.

Swedish company saves HelloFresh subsidiary from insolvency

Swedish company Convini has stepped in to buy HelloFresh subsidiary Hellofreshgo, thereby rescuing the offshoot from insolvency. Launched in 2017, Hellofreshgo’s mini-canteen and placed food vending machine service fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic and home-office working restrictions, forcing the company to file for bankruptcy in March of this year. The deal, effective as of this month, is part of the Swedish lunch-refrigerator and coffee vending machine provider’s European expansion plans.

Food hub concept to revitalize Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz

Manifesto Market has announced plans to open a 4,400 sqm food hub in Berlin’s historic Potsdamer Platz. The planned food hub will be the centerpiece of a pedestrian-friendly redesign of the former shopping arcade, and is set to become one of the largest food hub concepts of its kind in mainland Europe. Manifesto’s plans include a curated selection of cuisines and a total of 22 restaurants, two bars, a “speakeasy” and a “chef’s table” under one roof. The space will also be suitable for events including concerts, film screenings, lectures and other events.

Start-up sells birthday cake kits for busy families

A Frankfurt-based start-up is selling online birthday cake kits for busy families. The DIY home-baking kits provide all of the necessary ingredients and decorative elements for birthday and festive cakes. A contract manufacturer mixes the ingredients for the cake batter and packages the baking mixes. A logistics provider then ships the ordered kit along with a baking pan, base, dough scraper and decorations. According to company founder Luwam Tecle-Debesay, consumer demand for the 40-euro boxes is highest amongst young parents who otherwise have little time for elaborate birthday cakes. The company is looking to bring in fresh investment to a business model that home cooking box provider HelloFresh has already shown is attractive to venture capital companies.

Latest Publication

The Food & Beverage Industry in Germany The Food & Beverage Industry in Germany | © GTAI

The Food & Beverage Industry in Germany

The German food and beverage market offers business opportunities on all fronts, because it's highly receptive to new cultural influences and culinary trends.

Our Industry in Numbers

  • Germany is Europe's largest food producer and the food & beverage industry represents the fourth largest industry sector in Germany.
  • The industry is best characterized by its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector of over 6,000 companies, generating a production value of around EUR 180 billion in 2018.
  • Exports of processed foods and agricultural commodities generated sales of EUR 71.5 billion in 2018, making Germany the third largest exporter of food and beverages worldwide.
  • Largest sector sub-segments in 2018: Meat (23.7%), Dairy (15.1%), Baked Goods (9.7%), and Confectionery & Long-Life Bakery Products (7.6%).
  • Germany is home to major national and international players including the Dr. Oetker Group, Südzucker, Arla, Mondelēz Deutschland, Nestlé, Cargill, and many more.

Testimonials to Success

Mehmet Er, Managing Director | Tadim Deutschland GmbH

Mehmet Er, Managing Director Tadim Deutschland GmbH Mehmet Er, Managing Director Tadim Deutschland GmbH | © Tadim Deutschland GmbH/GTAI

"Tadim has made a significant move by investing in Germany. We are confident that it will prove to be a value-adding one because of Germany's attractiveness as a production location and the optimal logistics for serving international markets. To this end, we particularly liked Emsdetten because of its central location. We hope to expand our market position in Europe as well as just in Germany and we are already processing and distributing to neighbouring countries." (2016) More Information

Gerhard Berssenbrügge, Former Chief Executive Officer* | Nestlé Germany AG

Gerhard Berssenbrügge, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Germany AG Gerhard Berssenbrügge, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Germany AG | © Nestlé Germany AG/GTAI

“We deliberately chose Germany and Schwerin for the construction of our third coffee capsule factory. The decisive factors were the favorable geographical location, the close proximity to the world's largest coffee-trading center Hamburg, the ease of access to northern Europe as well as the high density of skilled workers in the region.” (*2014)

Market | Industrial Infrastructure

With around 83 million inhabitants, Germany represents a very receptive market for national and international food & beverage products. Its excellent geographical position (with access to all European markets) and its technological leadership make Germany the best point of entrance to the European food & beverage market. Demand for functional foods alone has established Germany as a European leader, with the organic food segment experiencing a growth of 5.5 percent in sales reaching almost EUR 11 billion in 2018. Thanks to the unbeatable popularity of German products abroad, the industry is expected to maintain its steep growth curve in the years ahead.

Fragmentation in the existing food & beverage industry landscape means that barriers to entry in the German market are negligible. In addition, the presence of numerous companies along the entire food-processing value chain makes it easy for newcomers to find suppliers, distributors, and other valuable partners.

Germany offers a particularly positive market environment for producers of food ingredients and additives of almost all kinds. The size of the industry paralleled by evolving consumer needs and growing exports lead to a vibrant demand for new ingredients and formulations incl. e.g. flavors, sweeteners, stabilizers, emulsifier or fragrances. As most products are used across various sub-segments of the industry, the market and investment potential is tremendous and even likely to increase in the future.

Production Value of the German Food & Beverage Industry by Segment 2018 (in percent) | Federation of German Food and Drink Industries, 2017_2018
Production Value of the German Food & Beverage Industry by Segment 2018 (in percent) | Federation of German Food and Drink Industries, 2017_2018 | © Production Value of the German Food & Beverage Industry by Segment 2018 (in percent) | Federation of German Food and Drink Industries, 2017_2018

Market | Trends

Recent consumer trends have, above all, been influenced by a number of far-reaching changes in society. An aging population is fueling the demand for health & wellness as well as functional food products to prevent or overcome conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Two-thirds of all Germans see a direct link between nutrition and health.

The movement towards organic food products has long since achieved mainstream status in Germany. More and more consumers are seeking to improve their sense of well-being, health, and even their performance levels through the consumption of functional food products. An increasingly fast-paced society and the rising number of single households is driving demand for highly convenient foods including ready-to-eat meals, frozen foods, desserts, and baked goods.

Other trends include the sales of fair trade products, such as coffee and fruit juices, which tripled to more than 1.6 billion euro between 2012 to 2018. Ethnic foods, beauty foods, and “free of” foods (e.g. lactose and gluten-free products) are further trends currently finding favor with Germany’s increasingly discerning consumer base.

Development of Food Retail Sales in Germany by Segment (2017/2018, change in percent) | GfK/Statista, 2019
Development of Food Retail Sales in Germany by Segment (2017/2018, change in percent) | GfK/Statista, 2019 | © Development of Food Retail Sales in Germany by Segment (2017/2018, change in percent) | GfK/Statista, 2019

Personnel | R&D

Germany has a large pool of highly qualified and motivated employees and offers competitive labor costs compared to both western and eastern Europe.

R&D and innovation spending in the German food & beverage industry is expected to reach EUR 3 billion in 2019. Product innovations account for 15 percent of total annual sales of the German food & beverages market. Numerous well-known universities and public and private research institutes help companies in the food & beverage industry research, develop, and swiftly bring new and innovative products to market.

Marc Rohr Marc Rohr | © GTAI/Illing & Vossbeck Fotografie

"Germany is Europe’s largest food & beverage market and a superb location for exports."

Marc Rohr | Director Service Industries

Incentives | Physical Infrastructure | Stable Investment Environment

Germany offers numerous incentives for all investors - regardless of country of origin. There are a large selection of programs available designed to support a wide variety of business activities at different stages of the investment process. Support ranges from cash incentives for the reimbursement of direct investment costs to incentives for labor and R&D.
We offer an extensive and comprehensive logistics infrastructure that integrates state-of-the-art transportation networks with the most modern telematics, IT, and telecommunications systems.

Social, economic, and political stability provide a solid base for your investment projects. Our judiciary and civil services are highly professional. Contractual agreements are secure and intellectual property is strictly protected in Germany.

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