Europe’s food and drink industry means: 4.57 million people employed throughout the EU, a turnover of €1.1 trillion and €230 billion in value added, which make it the largest manufacturing industry in the EU. In half of the EU’s 28 Member States, the food and drink industry is the biggest employer within manufacturing.
The Data & Trends report also provides an outlook on markets. About ¾ of EU food and drink exports are destined to the Single Market. At the same time, the EU is the largest exporter of food and drink products in the world. In 2017, extra-EU exports reached €110 billion, with a trade surplus of €35 billion. Finally, the report includes a ranking of the top-50 food and drink companies.
Despite these bright results, the industry faces a number of challenges: the growing share of costs compared to turnover leaves less room for generating value added, making it difficult for food and drink companies to invest and to increase Research and Development (R&D) spending. As a result, the EU food and drink industry has a lower R&D investment intensity compared to several food and drink industries worldwide.