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Data & Trends of the European Food and Drink Industry 2011


30 Apr 2012


Agriculture & Food

(Brussels, 30 April 2012)  Today, FoodDrinkEurope, the body representing the interests of Europe’s food and drink manufacturers at the EU level, published its annual Data and Trends report for 2011 covering the latest statistical insights on Europe’s first manufacturing industry.

An annual publication, the brochure provides the latest figures possible on the following:

· Industry turnover

· Number of companies, including the number of SMEs in the sector and their contribution to employment figures

· Direct employment

· Extra - EU Trade figures both in terms of imports and exports

· EU market share in global exports  

· Generation of value added

· Consumption data

In this year’s report, we see a registered turnover of 956.2 billion Euros which means that Europe’s food and drink industry still weighs in as the largest manufacturing sector in the EU (accounting for 16% of the turnover of manufacturing in the 27 member-bloc).   Similarly, direct employment in the food and drink sector in the EU accounts for 4.1 million jobs and many more jobs indirectly – making the industry the leading employer in the manufacturing industry in the European Union.  

The industry remains highly fragmented with 274,000 companies, (99.1% of which are small or medium-sized).  This gives Europe’s food and drink sector its particularity given that food industry SMEs generate almost half of the industry turnover (48.7%) and just under two thirds of the number of jobs.  

In terms of external trade, the European food and drink industry exported products to the value of €65.3 billion in 2010. Positively, all categories of products experienced a double-digit export growth, particularly dairy products with a 27% increase compared to 2009.

While the EU continues to lead as the world’s largest food and drink exporter, we can see from the report that the EU market share of global exports of food and drink products has been slowly declining over the last years (from 20.1% in 2001 to 17.8% in 2010), mostly to the benefit of emerging economies: Brazil, China, Thailand and Argentina.

In terms of consumption of food and drink, households spent on average 13% of their expenditure on food and non-alcoholic drinks in 2010. This comes second only to expenditure of 23.2% on housing, water and energy combined.

Research and development (R&D) has an important role to play in pushing the food industry forward and helping manufacturers to remain competitive. Data on R&D and innovation indicates that food and drink companies’ level of investment has been relatively stable. Out of the top 1000 companies investing in R&D in all the sectors of the EU economy in 2010, 37 food and drink companies invested a total of €2.3 billion, which corresponds to a 2.2% investment.

Significantly, a ranking of leading international food companies in the report, highlights EU companies ranked among the top companies in terms of global food and drink sales.

The Data & Trends report also provides in depth analysis of the ‘Structure of the Industry’, ‘Trade with non-EU countries’, ‘Markets and Consumption’ and ‘World Trends’. The report is available to download at


For further information:

Lisa McCooey, Deputy Director General/ Director of Communications

Tel.: +32 2 514 11 11, Mob.: +32 476 911 300