Food and Drink
Food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the EU with a turnover of €1.1 trillion, employing 4.6 million people. FoodDrinkEurope and its 27 sectoral members are the dominant Brussels trade associations representing the sector. Overall the sector is comprised mainly of SMEs with relatively few big spending multinational companies – interestingly not one food and drink company is in the top 80 corporate affairs spenders in Brussels!
However, the sector is highly regulated as society and governments have become more aware of the impact of what we eat and drink.
In the last 10 years, EU food and drink exports have doubled. EU food legislation is highly harmonised and the sector benefits significantly from the opportunities offered by the EU Single Market. At the same time, however, the sector faces certain challenges in both international and European markets. The European Commission is working to improve the competitiveness of the EU food sector and the functioning of the Single Market for Food. It also strives to create new trade opportunities for food and drink products, through various trade negotiations and dialogues with third countries.