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Market Report: European Food and Beverage Trends

By: Steven Hanft, CONUSBAT, Germany
Posted: June 23, 2009

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This shift in age distribution influences the region’s food and beverage sector, by initiating product development activities in the following areas:

  • Nutritional and fortified products for osteoporosis (calcium), support of tendons (magnesium), vitality (vitamins), etc.
  • Multi-grain foods for enhancing digestion
  • Probiotic dairy products
  • Organically certified fruits and vegetables and the prepared foods thereof

Increasing Muslim Population and Demographic Considerations

Europe’s Muslim population is large and growing. In past 50 years, it has exploded from less than 250,000 to about 25–30 million in Western Europe. A considerable section of this population needs halal certified food products, which are prepared in compliance with the dietary laws of its religion. As such, when it comes to prepackaged or processed foods, questions about their compliance with these dietary laws arise. For example, MSNBC has reported that some restaurants in Tuscany, Italy, source steaks of the famous Florentine quality from halal certified butchers. Needless to say, halal certified products have seen a tremendous growth in this region.

Moreover, the national origins of the Western European Muslim community vary on the basis of historical reasons for its immigration. This results in different ethnic backgrounds such as:

  • Benelux: Moroccan, Turkish and Indonesian
  • France: mostly Algerian
  • Germany: mostly Turkish
  • Spain: mostly Moroccan
  • United Kingdom: Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian

Breakfast Food Segment in Europe

A common notion among Europeans is that “Americans really like breakfast cereals!” And a visit to a US supermarket only confirms this belief. Interestingly, despite the dominance of European breakfast staples—the breakfast croissant, brotchen rolls and breads (baguette, whole grain, dark, raisin and nuts, etc.)—breakfast cereal, muesli and granola have made their way onto European supermarket shelves. Table 2 describes some products found in German and Benelux markets.

Regional Influence on Product Development and Marketing

For a New Yorker living and working in the European Union, an excellent example of the evolution of regional products can be cross-examined in the tri-state area, generally referred to as the Rhine-Maas Euregio (see Figure 4). Here, between the rivers Rhine and Maas, lie borders of three nations—Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, with three separate languages (French, German and Dutch) being spoken. In addition, three major cities, one in each country—Aschen (Germany), Liège (Belgium) and Maastricht (Netherlands)—are located within a radius of about 50 km, each having its own historical importance. In totality the population of the Euregio region is about 3.4 million.