Germany - Country Commercial Guide
Agricultural Sector

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

Last published date: 2021-10-07

Overview 

Germany is the second largest importer and third largest exporter of consumer oriented agricultural products worldwide, and by far the most important European market for foreign producers.  The retail market’s key characteristics are consolidation, market saturation, strong competition and low prices.  Germany is an attractive and cost-efficient location in the center of the EU.  While many consumers are very price sensitive, the market also provides many wealthy consumers who follow value-for-money concepts.  These consumers are looking for premium quality products and are willing to pay higher prices.  Germany still has some of the lowest food prices in Europe, and German citizens spend only about 14 percent of their income on food and beverages.  Low food prices are a result of high competition between discounters and the grocery retail sale segment.  

Key market drivers and consumption trends 

  • Fair trade and organic products have become more important on the German grocery market.  Germany is the second largest organic market in the world (behind the United States) and presents good prospects for exporters of organic products (for more information, please see the GAIN report: Opportunities for Organic Exports to Germany).
  • Ageing population and increased health consciousness of consumers are fueling the demand for health and wellness products, as well as functional food products.  
  • Increasingly high-paced society and the rising number of single households are driving the demand for convenient ready-to-eat meals, desserts, and baking mixes.   
  • Ethnic foods, beauty and super foods, clean label foods, “free from” products (e.g. gluten or lactose free) and locally grown products are further trends that attract more and more German consumers.
  • An increasing share of consumers view their purchasing decision as a political or life-style statement (no GMO, only free-range eggs, vegetarian, or vegan diet).
  • Consumers increasingly require traceability and information about production methods. 
  • Germany remains a price-focused market, but the share of consumers who are willing to pay for quality is increasing in most cities. 
  • COVID-19 related lockdown measures impacted consumers’ eating and purchasing patterns. A recently published evaluation report on the effects of COVID-19 on the German food and drink sector indicates four patterns influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions: DIY-Food (do-it-yourself), freshness & convenience, storability, pleasure & brand value.

Leading Sub-Sectors 

Tree Nuts 

The category of tree nuts includes almonds, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts. Germany does not produce significant quantities of these products, and supply therefore comes primarily from imports. The United States is the largest supplier of tree nuts to Germany. The leading competitor for the United States in the German tree nut market is Turkey. Many U.S. agricultural associations actively promote their products in Germany, including the Almond Board of California, California Pistachio Commission and the California Walnut Commission. 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, and pecans. 

in million USD 

2018

2019

2020

2021 (Estimate)

 Total Local Production 

 Total Exports 

1,287

1,270

1,426

1,350 

 Total Imports 

3,246

3,224 

3,583 

3,400 

 Imports from the US 

730 

751

829 

780 

 Total Market Size

1,959

1,954 

2,157 

2,050 

Source: Trade Data Monitor query dated July 6, 2021 

Fishery Products  

Fish and fishery products enjoy growing popularity in Germany. The German market offers lucrative opportunities for fish and seafood products. Fish consumption is growing as consumers associate fishery products with a healthy diet. The best prospects for U.S. seafood exports are Alaska pollock, salmon, caviar substitutes, hake, cod, dogfish, shrimps, crabs, cuttlefish and squid, sea urchin, catfish, lobster, and scallops. By value, the two most important U.S. fishery export products to Germany are Alaska pollock and salmon.  

in million USD

2018

2019

2020

2021 (Estimate)

 Total Local Production

2,534

2,364

2,438

2,500

 Total Exports

2,865

2,631

2,548

2,500

 Total Imports

6,080

5,903

5,922

5,800

 Imports from the US

196

233

224

220

 Total Market Size

5,401

5,636

5,812

5,800

Source: Trade Data Monitor query dated July 21, 2021 

Wine  

Germany is the world’s largest importer of wine by volume and third largest by value. In 2020, German wine imports were valued at more than USD 2.9 billion. Italy, France, and Spain are the leading suppliers of wine to Germany with a combined import market share of 79 percent. U.S. wines, together with other “new-world” wines, have developed an increasingly good reputation for quality in the German market. In 2020, the value of Germany’s imports of U.S. wines totaled USD 57 million. 

in million liters

2018

2019

2020

2021 (Estimated)

 Total Local Production

1039

845

851

900

 Total Exports

375

384

359

350

 Total Imports

1,475

1,489

1,437

1,430

 Imports from the US

25

30

38

40

 Total Market Size

2,139

1,950

1,929

1,980

German production data is only available on a volume basis; therefore, this table is in liters 

Sources: German Office of Statistics (German production) 

Trade Data Monitor query dated July 6, 2021 

Pet Food

Germany is one of the leading countries for pet ownership in the world. Germans are willing to pay a premium to properly feed their pets, and interest in specialty health pet food products is growing rapidly. Most pet food is produced domestically, and the EU requires pet food to be derived from meat that can be used for human consumption. Despite the bureaucratic obstacles, opportunities for exporting pet food products to Germany are available given the considerable size of the market.  

in million USD

2018

2019

2020

2021 (Estimated)

 Total Local Production 

3,490 

3,563 

3,950

4,200

 Total Exports 

1,764 

1,819 

 2,188

2,300

 Total Imports 

1,446 

1,487 

1,632 

1,700

 Imports from the U.S. 

4

 Total Market Size 

3,172

3,231 

3,394

3,600

Source: Trade Data Monitor query dated July 21, 2021

Resources  

Agricultural Attaché Reports 

Attaché reports provide information on market opportunities, crop conditions, new policy developments and information about Germany’s food industry. Some standard reports include: Retail Market Report, Exporter Guide, Food Service Report, and market briefs on wine, seafood and other select products. Attaché reports can be found at the Global Agricultural Information Network. In recent years, many of the German reports have been consolidated and are submitted as EU reports. We recommend that companies interested in the German market also review the EU reports.

U.S. Agricultural Commodity Associations Active in Germany 

Several U.S. agricultural commodity and other trade associations conduct market development programs in Germany. In some cases, these associations maintain field offices in Germany, while others may have a trade representative or public relations company representing their interests. Others may cover Germany from elsewhere in Europe or from offices in the United States. The USDA-operated Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD) provide a portion of the funding for these association’s market development programs. For further information about the MAP and FMD programs or to know more about which associations are active in Germany, please contact the Office of Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. 

Trade Shows  

In Germany, trade fairs play a key role in presenting new products to the trade or in finding additional buyers and importers. The major international trade fairs are: 

FRUIT LOGISTICA – The leading show for fruit and vegetables, dried fruits, and nuts. It is held on an annual basis in Berlin. Next show: February 9-11, 2022

Fish International – The leading fish and seafood show in Germany. It is held every two years in Bremen. Next show: February 13-15, 2022

Biofach – The leading European trade show for organic food and non-food products. It is held on an annual basis in Nuremberg. Next show: February 15-18, 2022

Prowein – The leading wine show in Germany. It is held on an annual basis in Dusseldorf. Next show: March 27-29, 2022

Interzoo – The world leading pet industry exhibition. It is held every two years in Nuremberg. Next show: May 24-27, 2022

ANUGA – The world´s leading food fair for the retail trade and the food service and catering market. It is held every two years in Cologne. Next show: October 2023