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Growing potential for Naturally Healthy Food Ingredients in Germany

The demand for healthy food, rich in vitamins and other nourishing values is increasing in Germany. This provides interesting business opportunities for Finnish food and beverage companies.

Consumer habits in Germany are following trends of health, sustainability and individualism. German consumers are more and more interested in organic and healthy food and really want to know what they buy and eat. Besides the trend of purchasing regional products, healthy ingredients play more and more crucial role in consumers’ buying decisions. Around one third of the consumers say that having relevant ingredients, such as anti-oxidants, vitamins and proteins, affect their decision to purchase a food product.

Retail sales value of naturally healthy packaged food increased by 4% to €3.2 billion in Germany in 2016. With the rising consumption of healthy food, especially berries and oat, the naturally healthy food market in Germany is expected to witness a 10-20% growth rate in the next five years.

Aging population and health-related problems driving demand

Germany is facing higher number of health-related problems than before. It is an ageing society, and health problems generally are more frequent and serious with aging population. Based on governmental level and non-governmental institutions’ official predictions, public health issues, such as obesity and heart diseases, are almost certain to get worse over the next five years. In the context of rising health costs, especially for non-essential products and services which are usually not covered by health insurance, most Germans are looking for means to improve their health. These trends will have a further positive impact on the demand for naturally healthy packaged food.

Interest in berries – natural superfood

German consumers are attracted by the promised health-related benefits of “Naturally Healthy Superfood”. Growing number of packaged food products include superfood ingredients such as acai, goji berries, cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, pomegranate, nuts etc. However, Germans still remain rather skeptical regarding promises which seem to be unrealistic. Products traditionally known in Germany like blueberries, bilberries and oats are more popular among the older population, whereas younger Germans have no problem with more exotic foods such as acai and noni.

Berries, among other superfood, have two advantages. While trend-superfoods are often imported to Germany e.g. from Asia and have a negative carbon-footprint, berries are seen as regional fruits. Furthermore, there has been development in which fruits (e.g. apples) have been farmed with the target of bigger size and sweeter taste. Within this development the content of nutrition was more or less neglected. Berries have not been included in this type of development and consumers regard berries as natural superfood.

Growing demand for oats

Traditionally oats have mostly been used as animal feed in Germany. However, consumers have started to understand value of oats as superfood, and the number of oat consumers (daily, weekly, monthly) grew in the past three years by 10-20%.

Entering the German market

In Germany, there is a trend for purchasing local, own region, products. However, since Finnish products grow in similar kind of climate, German consumers find them interesting. Overall, Finnish products (as Nordic products) have a good reputation in Germany. High content of nutrition, due to higher sun perception (24 hours of sunlight in the summer), is a good selling point in Germany.

Germany as a market is large, price driven and, due to the polycentric structure, diverse. The importance of business relations within value chains has grown over the years. Finnish companies interested in entering the market, need to have a door opener for building and strengthening contacts to relevant players along the value chain.

Next steps

Germany is one of focus countries in the Food from Finland growth program. During 2017, Food from Finland will have several activities regarding the German market. There will be e.g. a country pavilion at BIOFACH fair in February in Nuremburg, a coaching day regarding the German market in Finland in April, Anuga trade fair in Cologne in October and Food Ingredients Europe (FIE) in Frankfurt in November.

In addition, Finpro’s Global Network personnel in Germany and Austria know the market and are able to advise and connect Finnish companies with relevant players along the value chain.

Interested in seizing the opportunity? Please contact our advisors:

Markus Müller
Advisor, Finpro Germany
+49 151 2006 8820

Lili Lehtovuori
Senior Advisor, Finpro Austria
+43 664 254 5289

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