Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

Close X


There are currently no Help notes in this section.

Close X

EU - Market Trends

The EU's food market is made up of about 310,000 companies, and 4.8 million employees (European Commission, 2011). However, despite the large number of companies, most are small in scale and few are able to compete on the global  market  (European  Commission, 2011). In fact, 99% of all enterprises in the EU food sector are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs European  Commission, 2011). On a whole, the EU food industry sector is one of the largest and most important manufacturing sectors in Europe (European Commission, 2011). It is the second largest (after  metal) in the  manufacturing industry, with 14.5% of total manufacturing turnover (€917bn for the EU-27) (European Commission,2011).

Food consumption in the EU is dominated by fresh foods and produce. However, the EU market has seen an increase in demand for specialty, prepared and pre-packaged convenience goods such as ready-to-eat meals, frozen    foods,    desserts and baked goods (Germany Trade & Invest , 2010). Due to fast paced lifestyles, snack food is one of the fastest growing sectors. As an example, snack bars, snack mixes and energy bars continue to be a driving force in the snack market in Europe and growth is believed to have occurred in 2010. Snack bars have integrated well with the emerging trend for organic, fortified, and functional products.

Furthermore, on account of an ageing EU population, there has been growing demand for health and wellness products to prevent or combat conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol (Germany Trade & Invest, 2010).    Fair trade products such as coffee and fruit juices have also seen increasing demand (Germany Trade & Invest , 2010). Beauty foods and lactose and gluten free products have also been growing exponentially in markets such as Germany (Germany Trade & Invest , 2010).

In terms of herbs and spices, leading EU importers are Germany, The Netherlands, the UK, France and Spain (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, 2009). Pepper is the largest product group imported, followed by paprika, mixtures, spice seeds and nutmeg, mace and cardamom (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries , 2009). Given that the EU is not a major producer of spices, it is considered to be a net importer of spices and herbs. There is also a growing demand for organic spices and herbs in the EU as the health food sector continues to grow and consumers focus more on healthy food and natural flavours as substitutes for sugar, salt and artificial products (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from  Developing Countries, 2009).

As it relates to bakery products, EU consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the need for healthier alternatives to traditional baked goods (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada , 2010). They are demanding higher quality products with the more affluent western EU markets fueling salesin specialty products (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2010). Developments in the pastries category are likely to be focused on indulgent products with high quality ingredients. Innovative bread products are also expected to be successful in the 2010 to 2013  forecast period (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2010).

Furthermore, commercial cakes and pastries are the highest growth sub-sectors in France and Spain (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2010). Healthier types of bread such as whole grain varieties are also continuing to gain traction in the EU market. In terms of biscuits, the United Kingdom has one of the strongest sales volumes in the EU. Biscuit volume sales are also increasing in France, Italy and Spain (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2010).

Generally, food and drink expenditures amongst consumers in Western Europe, in particular the newer member nations of the EU, tend to be more than most of the original EU 15. Sophistication is the most common trend for innovation in Europe and the search for new flavours is also becoming a major trend (Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU, 2010). In 2009, European households spent on average 13.1% of their expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages (Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU, 2010).

More information on food and drink trends in the EU can be found on FoodDrinkEurope’s website:

The table below provides an overview of EU imports of select bakery products, seasonings, preserves, spreads, condiments and sauces; and beverages for the year 2010.


Product Description

Value  of  EU
0 Euro)

Major Supplying Markets (outside the EU)


Crisp bread


USA, BangladeshAustralia, Jamaica, Israel


Gingerbread and the like


Switzerland, Canada, Moldova, China, RussianFederation


Sweet biscuits


Turkey, USA,  Serbia, Moldova, Canada,

Jamaica, Dominican Republic


Waffles and wafers


Turkey,  Indonesia,  Bosnia  and  Herzegovina,Russian Federation,  Macedonia,     Jamaica, Dominican Republic


Rusks, toasted bread and similar toasted products


USA,  Switzerland,  Israel,  Macedonia, Russian Federation


Communion  wafers, etc.


China, Switzerland, USA,   Thailand, Turkey,Jamaica, Dominican Republic


Soya sauce

138, 989

China, Japan, Thailand, USA, Malaysia,Suriname


Tomato ketchup and other tomato sauces


Turkey, USA, Israel,    Switzerland, Mexico,Jamaica


Mustard flour and

meal and prepared mustard


USA, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Thailand


Sauces and preparations nes2 & mixed condiments & mixed seasonings


Thailand, USA, China, Japan,   South Africa,

Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica


Waters, including

natural or artificial mineral waters and aerated waters, not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter nor flavored, ice, and snow


Switzerland, USA, Belarus,  Canada, Iceland,



Malt beer


Mexico, Russian Federation,    USA, China,

Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica


Waters, including

mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or  other sweetening matter or flavored, and other non-alcoholic beverages, not including fruit  or vegetable juices of heading 2009


USA, Turkey, China, Chinese  Taipei, Thailand,

Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago


Undenatured ethyl

alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume of less than

80 % vol. spirits,

liqueurs, and other spirituous beverages


USA, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba,

Russian  Federation, Jamaica,   Barbados, Guyana