Market Research

Germany: European leader of food industry


The food industry in Germany

Germany holds the best european economy, also in third place on a global scale in exportation in addition of being an innovative and very competitive market, where excellence and quality run parallel to each other. One of the bases of this strong position is the food industry, which fuels a very diversified sales network.

Although, for some the German cook does not vary that much from the sausage and knuckle of pork typical from the south part, German food is far more than these stereotypes.

With a good and strategic localization, it is the largest beverage and food market in Europe, which offers many opportunities for both consumers and producers. Food and beverage companies worldwide account for more than 170.000 different food products.

Approximatively 82 million of consumers make Germany the largest retailer of food and beverage in Europe. Food turnover increased by a total of 2,3%, approaching 191 billion of euros in 2015. Other important distribution channels include the sale of food services (73,6 billion of euros), and the export of processed food (55,3 billion of euros).

The beverage and food industry is the third largest sector of German industry. There are just over 5.800 small and medium-sized businesses employing approximately 560.000 people.

The largest segments of this industry according to production are meat and sausage products (24%), dairy products (14%), prepared products (10%) and confectionery products (9%).

Currently Germany is the third largest exporter and importer of food and agricultural products worldwide. By 2015, imports have increased by more than 6%, 74.5 billion of euros, which places Germany as the most important importer of foreign products by its net imports of food and Beverage on the European market.

It is a very open market with new cultural influences and gastronomic trends, which therefore offers great commercial opportunities. This makes the German industry known not only for its quality but also its adaptation to meet the changing tastes and needs of consumers.

Although the country seems uncertain about the future of the euro area and international trade agreements, its dominance in Europe is still very present. As for the prospects of future market, industry analysts predict positive growth for 2017. Consumers trend to buy more quality, participate in fair trade, also healthier products. Therefore, the food industry is at this time one of the sector with a lot of opportunities for Spanish companies. Germany continues to be an engine of the world economy by its weight in terms of capital and its exports of consumer goods.

The US Department of Transport Launched the Smart City Challenge to Create the City of the Future.  

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Vincent Callebaut’s Vision of Paris as a Smart City in 2050

78 cities were in the running to win the Smart City Challenge with the projects they have entered to improve transport. All have applied state-of-the-art technology to transport projects  including self-driving vehicles, connected vehicles and intelligent sensors. 

A short time ago, Anthony Foxx, United States Secretary of Transportation, announced the shortlist of finalist cities that opt for the prize of US$ 50 million for transport improvement projects in their cities. A further US$ 10 million is being offered by Paul Allen, the millionaire owner of Vulcan, Inc. to develop electric vehicles and other measures in the winning city to reduce carbon dioxide. The shortlisted cities were: Austin; Columbus; Denver; Kansas City; Pittsburgh; Portland and San Francisco.

Recently the seven cities made their final pitches to defend the main thrust of their projects:

  • Austin, Texas presented a project involving automatic vehicles with their intelligent stations and marketplace mobility.
  • Columbus, Ohio tabled a project for real-time transportation systems and intelligent corridors.
  • Denver, Colorado their project focussed on on-demand mobility and electric vehicles.
  • Kansas City, Missouri self-driving shuttles, mobility apps for pedestrians and intelligent public lighting.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania focussed on the intelligent management of goods transport, developing self-driving transport and an app to create accident reports.
  • San Francisco, California development of a shared, connected self-driving vehicle.
  • Portland, Oregon transportation safety apps, Wi-Fi Access Points to provide internet connection and tourist information at transport transits points and electric buses.

The winner, Columbus, was recently announced.

But, what exactly is a smart city? These “intelligent” cities respond to the ever growing need for sustainability. These cities use infrastructures, technology and innovation to reduce energy consumption and their carbon footprint. Many of the measures to increase sustainability involve transportation improvements including electric vehicles, solar panels, wind-powered street lighting, solar-powered traffic lights and signs, encouraging the use of bicycles…

How do we judge whether a city is smart or not? 10 key criteria are used to classify cities: governability; urban planning; public management; technology; environment; international projection; social cohesion; mobility and transport; human resources and economy.

The OCDE (Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development) warned that, unless drastic measures are put in place, economic and demographic growth will have an unprecedented social and environmental impact in 2050. Taking into account that the great majority of the population lives in large cities and urban areas, these are where major efforts have to be made to accommodate the more than 2,000 million people projected for 2050. Smart Governance underpins efforts to create sustainable urban ecosystems. This includes several tools of local governance such as: strategic planning of policies and processes.

Exporting to the US: Footwear

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Opportunities for Spanish footwear in US.

The Spanish footwear industry had a trading surplus of nearly € 243 million in 2015

Spanish footwear exports grew by 11’1% in 2015 which, when put into figures, meant 152 million pairs with a total value of € 2,934 million according to figures published by Federation of Spanish Footwear Industries (Fice in its Spanish initials).

The main export markets for Spanish footwear are still France, Italy, Germany, UK and Portugal. Countries with outstanding growth were: UK (26’4%); Belgium (40’3%); Norway (51’8%); Ireland (53’6%); Poland (66%); and Hungary (67’8%). On the other hand, countries to which exports fell were: Japan; Slovenia; Australia; Russia and Ukraine.

Spain’s leading market for footwear outside the European Union is still the US with an increase of 25’4%. Spain occupies the 9th place as a supplier to the US and maintains a steady growth in the market not only in volume but in value as well. This is specially noticeable in women’s footwear in which the price per pair is  a very close second only to Italy. The breakdown of sales are: 47% women; 39% men and 14% children.

Spanish footwear is sold in the medium-high and high price ranges but are not classified as luxury goods. Department stores in the States use this classification and, in fact, divide sales departments into these categories. Given the difficulties in getting into department stores, the main opportunities for Spanish footwear manufacturers are to be found in boutiques and smaller specialised stores that concentrate on well designed quality products, whilst not retailing luxury brands. The other end of the market is dominated by Asian and Brazilian producers with whom it is very difficult to compete on quality/price.

Despite the inherent difficulties in the American market, it is still one that offers great opportunities for Spanish footwear. It is the market with most growth outside the European Union. This is helped by the current favourable exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Euro.

How a company approaches exports to the US will depend very much on its stage of general development. There are two main channels through which a company may succeed in this market: indirectly through an agent or distributor or through direct sales/distribution.

For further information on how we can help you to succeed in the US market, please contact:

Júlia Farré
Consulting Partner in ITC

The Catalan BioRegion Strengthens its Position  

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ITC is included in the Meditech and Biotech life science directories since May of this year.

BioCat, the organisation that coordinates and and works to strengthen the life science industry, recently published a report analysing the progress made between 2013 and 2015. 

Several indicators point in this direction: creation of 75 new companies that bring the total in the sector to734 and 89 research centres. This puts Catalonia in the top 4 European countries for number of life sciences industries per capita. Turnover for the industry rose 24% to over € 14,000 million in 2014 giving work to some 42,000. This advances have been made in spite of private and public investment in I+D dropping by 11% over the same period.

A further outstanding statistic is that the international scientific excellence of the BioRegion as shown by the fact that it contributes 0’99% of worldwide scientific production and is second recipient in the EU of European Research Council (ERC) grants.

Since May of this year. ITC is to be found in the Meditech and Biotech directories of life science firms. This inclusion is due to the number of market studies we have carried out, the partner searches concluded and the advice we have afforded to companies applying for subsidies within the framework of the European Union SME INSTRUMENT HORIZON 2020 and other similar programmes.