EU food and drink production rises in Q1 2016

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food and drink production grew by 0.5% at the start of 2016 compared with the previous quarter, while employment remained stable. Photo: iStock / Mifilippo
Food and drink production grew by 0.5% at the start of 2016 compared with the previous quarter, while employment remained stable. Photo: iStock / Mifilippo

Related tags: Milk, Europe

Food and drink production in Europe increased by a modest 0.5% in Q1 2016, bucking the downward trend of the previous quarter, according to data from industry group, FoodDrinkEurope.

This was accompanied by an increase in turnover, up  0.3%  on the previous quarter. The data also shows that Europe's food industry is outperforming the overall manufacturing sector as turnover for total manufacturing fell by 0.6%.

Overall, Europe's trade surplus for food and drink products reached €5.8 billion in the first quarter of 2016, with food and drink exports worth €22,801 million in Q1 2015 rising 2.2% to reach  €23,303m in 2016.

The meat sector was the biggest winner with a 33% increase in its trade balance year-on-year, followed by 12% for chocolate and confectionery, while the trade balance for oils and fats fell by 8% for the same period.

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Which countries are performing the best?

According to calculations by Eurostat Easy Comext, Ireland grew its food and drink production index by the biggest margin in the region, with a 6.1% increase from the previous quarter, although data was not available for some member states including the UK, Cyprus and Croatia.

Other countries which registered positive growth rates included Bulgaria (2.6%), Latvia (3%), and Greece (2.2%).

Other countries registered distinctly negative production trends. Austria saw its food and drink production fall by 8.2% while Portugal continued its downward trend, albeit at a lesser rate. In 2015 its production index fell by 19% between Q3 and Q4 2015, although this had dropped to -4.1% between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016.

Price changes

The prices of some main agricultural commodities also fell. Soft wheat prices fell by 14.2% while for dairy, whole milk powder fell by 19.1% to an average Q1 price of €1,878 per tonne. Skimmed milk powder saw its price fall by 19.2% in Europe and 27.6% worldwide.

Meanwhile for white sugar there was a 2.4% rise year-on-year in Europe compared with a 15.3% rise in world price, bringing the commodity to an average of €430 per tonne in the first quarter of 2016.

According to a previous FDE report​, Europe's share of global food and drink exports fell in the decade spanning 2002 to 2012, dropping from 20.5% to 16.1%.  

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