Austria - Country Commercial Guide
Agricultural Sectors

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-09-12

Overview

While still recovering from the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic to the agricultural and food sector, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 significantly affected global agricultural markets. Since the start of the conflict, crush facilities and ports in Ukraine have suspended operations, and other countries have imposed sanctions on Russia, limiting trade from the region. Ukraine is one of the world’s top agricultural producers and exporters and plays a critical role in supplying grains and oilseeds to the global market. The conflict has the potential to displace a significant amount of agricultural commodities. In addition to the uncertainties in the Black Sea area, high input prices and the scarcity of input materials, such as energy, fertilizers, and pesticides put a lot of pressure on the market. Driven by the deficit, commodity and food prices continue to increase from an already high level. However, Austrian food security is not currently at risk.

In 2021, Austria’s total agricultural and related products imports were $21.1 billion, and exports were $23.6 billion. In total, about 84% of all imported agricultural products came from the EU, and 76% of all exported goods were delivered to EU Member States. Austria’s most important agricultural trading partners are Germany and Italy. Austria imported $156 million worth of U.S. agricultural and related products in 2021. Official import data does not include significant and steadily growing transshipments of U.S. products from other EU countries (Source: Trade Data Monitor/Statistik Austria).

In public polls, Austrian consumers usually express a preference for high quality, regionally, and sustainably produced foods, but when it comes to actual buying patterns, price appears to be one of the major purchasing factors for a majority of the population. However, for special events, most people, are willing to spend more for “exclusive” products. In the current difficult economic situation, including increased prices and lower disposable incomes, Austrian consumers are tending to buy less expensive food, for example less expensive meat cuts (Source: Statistik Austria).

Per capita consumer expenditures on food and beverages in 2021 is estimated at $3,923. The share of food and beverage expenditures of total consumer expenditures has been at 14% since 2020 (Source: Euromonitor).

The traditional Austrian diet is based on pork, wheat flour, and vegetables. Cakes and bakery products are important parts of the diet, but there is an increasing interest in healthy lifestyles. A growing number of consumers are concerned about excess calories and healthy diets. The younger generation particularly appreciates trying new products and is a logical segment to aim for with new food product introductions. Since the population is steadily aging, the 50+ generation is also an important target market for food products considering their specific needs, including health foods.

Genetically engineered (GE or GMO) food products have a very negative image among the Austrian public. Food products containing GE ingredients must be labeled. They do not sell well in Austria and generally cannot be found in Austrian retail stores. Austrian retailers also promote biotech-free food. An Austrian label for biotech-free products issued by “ARGE Gentechnik-frei” (Platform for ‘GMO-Free’ Food Products) follows requirements for biotech-free food products established by the Austrian food codex. The label states “produced without biotech” (ohne Gentechnik hergestellt). Major products with this labeling are milk and dairy products (cows must not be fed GE feed), bread and bakery products, eggs (laying hens must not be fed GE feed), soybean products, meat, fruits, and vegetables. A counterpoint to the negative view of biotechnology is Austria’s strong market for organic agricultural and food products. During the Covid-19 pandemic, consumer expenditures on organic products increased even further. The market share of organics in food retail in 2021 reached over 11% but is not expected to grow any further in the near term. 

Austria has the highest percentage of organic farmland in the EU. Thus, opportunities exist for U.S. organic companies and exporters interested in the Austrian market. Driven by the Austrian government and non-governmental organizations, Austrian consumers are highly aware of environmental issues. This creates a growing market for sustainably and regionally produced food products. In reaction to this trend, retail chains started launching private labels promoting the “sustainability” and “regionality” of their products.

Table: Agriculture Market Size, million USD

 

2019

2020

2021

2022 (est)

Total Local Production

10,800

10,718

10,900

11,300

Total Exports

18,924

19,614

23,589

26,300

Total Imports

17,704

18,125

21,083

23,400

Imports from the US

128.3

190.7

156.5

175

Total Market Size

9,580

9,229

8,394

8,400

Exchange Rates 1 Euro= USD

1.1198

1.1402

1.1820

1.100

Units: USD million

Exchange Rate 2021 1€ = $1.18

Source: Total Local Production: Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions, and Tourism (2019 – 2020), Foreign Agricultural Service Estimates (2021 - 2022); Total Exports, Total Imports, Imports from the US: Trade Data Monitor (2019-2021), Foreign Agricultural Service Estimates (2022); Exchange Rates: irs.gov (2019 – 2021), Foreign Agricultural Service Estimates (2022)

Leading Sub-Sectors

Fish and Seafood Products. The Austrian market offers small but lucrative opportunities for fish and seafood products. Fish consumption in Austria is growing as consumers associate fishery products with a modern healthy diet. Domestic fish production is marginal and limited to freshwater fish such as trout and carp. Best prospects for U.S. fish and seafood exports are salmon, pollock, lobster, shrimp, crabs, caviar substitutes, catfish, and scallops. However, the current high inflation rate with increased food prices may limit the purchase of high-priced fish and fish products.

Tree Nuts. Over the past years, the United States was consistently the fourth largest supplier of tree nuts (in value and quantity) to Austria. Most tree nuts are used as ingredients by the food processing sector. Almonds are the most important commodity within this category. Further products with good sales potential include walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts.

Wine. Austria traditionally has a high share of domestic wine consumption. However, good prospects exist for “new world” wines, including those from the United States. In 2021, the United States was the fifth most important supplier (by value) of wine to Austria. However, the current high inflation rate with increased beverage prices may limit the purchase of high-priced wines.

Processed Fruits and Vegetables. Austrian imports of processed fruits and vegetables are mainly prepared nuts/seeds and dried fruits. Those products are mostly used as ingredients by the food-processing sector used in the production of pastries and breakfast cereals. Dried fruits and prepared nuts are also popular as a snack.

Fruit and Vegetable Juices. A very strong fruit juice industry makes Austria one of the most important juice importers worldwide. The demand for fruit juices is high. Good opportunities for U.S. fruit juices in the Austrian market are citrus and cranberry juices.

Snack Foods (excluding nuts). The Austrian demand for healthy, organic, innovative, and exotic snacks is still at a high level.

Red Meats Fresh/ Chilled/ Frozen. Limited but lucrative opportunities exist for U.S. hormone-free, high-quality beef, game, and exotic meat for upper-scale gastronomy. However, the current high inflation rate with increased food prices may limit the purchase of high-priced meat cuts and meat products.

Whiskies (Bourbon). When it comes to hard liquor, Austrians traditionally drink schnapps, but there is also a good market for whiskey, which is increasing in popularity. The United States is the second largest supplier, after the United Kingdom. However, the current high inflation rate with increased beverage prices may limit the purchase of high-priced alcoholic beverages.

Opportunities

Although foods and beverages from Austria, Germany, and other EU countries dominate Austrian retail shelf space, there are good market opportunities for U.S. products, particularly at the upper end of the market. Consumer-oriented food and beverage products remain the most important agricultural imports from the United States. In 2021, the consumer-oriented sector accounted for $83.7 million, about 58% of total agricultural and related products imports from the United States (Source: Trade Data Monitor).

Austrian consumer trends are creating good market opportunities for organic, health, diet, convenience, and sustainably produced food products. Market opportunities for U.S. products include but are not limited to nuts, dried/processed fruits, spirits - especially whiskies, wine, fruit juices, snack foods, fish and seafood products, hormone-free high-quality beef, game, and exotic meats for up-scale cuisine.

Resources

  • United States Department of Agriculture/Foreign Agricultural Service 

1400 Independence Ave., S.W.

Washington, DC 20250

Phone: (202) 720-2791

 

  • Foreign Agricultural Service Vienna

Boltzmanngasse 16

1090 Vienna, Austria

 

  • The United States Mission to the European Union

Foreign Agricultural Service

Boulevard du Regent 27

1000 Brussels, Belgium

Phone +32-2-811-5793

 

  • Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Regionen und Wasserwirtschaft

(Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Regions, and Water-Management)

Stubenring 1

1010 Vienna

Phone: +43 1 711 00 0

 

  • Bundesministerium für Soziales, Gesundheit, Pflege und Konsumentenschutz

(Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection)

Radetzkystrasse 2

1030 Vienna, Austria

Phone: +43 1 711 00-0

 

  • Österreichische Agentur für Gesundheit und Ernährungssicherheit

(Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety)

Spargelfeldstrasse 191

1220 Vienna, Austria

Phone: +43 05 0555-0 

Data Sources:

  • Trade Data Monitor
  • Statistik Austria
  • WIFO
  • Euromonitor
  • ARGE Gentechnik-frei
  • AMA Marketing
  • irs.gov