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Food industry

EU food market overview

Bakery bread © Kheng Guan Toh,

Europe 's food market is made up of about 310 000 companies, and 4.8 million employees. Despite this large number of companies, most are small in scale and few are able to compete on the global market.

The EU is looking to boost competitiveness in this sector through its Common Agricultural Policy.

Agro-food industry in the EU Market

The food industry sector is one of the largest and most important manufacturing sectors in Europe. It is the second largest (after metal) in the manufacturing industry, with 14.5% of total manufacturing turnover (€917bn for the EU-27). The employment in the food industry represents about 14% of the total manufacturing sector.

However, the food industry is characterised by fragmentation. There are few European multinational companies competing worldwide with a wide variety of products but 99% of all enterprises in the food sector are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

The size of the European common market holds many opportunities for companies wishing to increase their productivity, by making effective use of economies of scale. The EU's food industry must also look to stimulate innovation and develop new products in order to thrive. All this must be done in way that is respectful for the environment and that guarantees secure access to agricultural raw materials.

European Food Prices Monitoring Tool

Increasing transparency along the food supply chain is essential to encourage competition in the European agro-food industry and improve its resilience to price volatility. One step towards increased transparency is the creation of a European Food Prices Monitoring Tool.

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