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Food and drink

Spotlight on the food and drink sector in Germany

Market Information

With around 83 million inhabitants, Germany represents a very receptive market for international food and drink products.

Germany is Europe's largest food producer and the food and drink industry represents the fourth largest industry sector in Germany.

In the food and drink industry, around 6,150 companies generate an annual turnover of 186 billion euros. With over 638,000 employees, this sector is Germany‘s fourth-largest industry. The German food and drink industry is the leading one in Europe.

Market Trends

The food and drink market in Germany is characterised by a number of trends, including:

Organic Food

More and more customers are turning to organic food and drinks. Organic quality is winning over customers in health food shops and health food stores. In addition, organic products are also gaining more and more space on shelves and counters in supermarkets, drugstores, discount stores and other retail outlets. [Footnote 1]

Health and wellness

German consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious and interested in products that promote wellness and healthy lifestyles. This has led to a growing demand for free from, vegetarian and flexitarian diets are on a steady increase.


German consumers are also placing increasing importance on sustainability, with a growing focus on environmentally-friendly and socially responsible products. This includes a demand for products that are locally sourced, reduce waste, and use eco-friendly packaging.


The busy and fast-paced lifestyle of German consumers has led to a growing demand for convenient and time-saving food and drink products, such as ready-made meals and on-the-go snacks.

The German consumer

  • Expects high quality products at discount prices
  • Prides themselves on being green – therefore willing to pay more for sustainable, locally sourced, free range, natural, organic, fair trade and carbon neutral products
  • Is devoted to the discounters – highest share globally – very small margins
  • Not very experimental. Germans are traditional buyers
  • Due to aging population and changing demographics demand for convenience, health, wellness and luxury products are drivers impacting the future trends in food retailing

Retail landscape

Germany is Europe’s largest food retail market. EDEKA, Rewe, Schwarz-Group and Aldi (incl.North and South) dominate and continue their growth, albeit at a slower rate.

The Top 4 accounted domestically for over €205 bn and 74.8% market share. This is both food and non-food. Food in 2021 accounted for €175 bn or 85% of total.

Top 10 food retailers in Germany 2022
Company Turnover 2021 (in Mio. Euro) Difference in turnover
Edeka (Netto) 68.835 +2.7%
REWE Group (REWE, Penny) 56.345 +1.6%
Schwarz Gruppe (Lidl, Kaufland) 48.570 +6.3%
Aldi (Aldi Süd, Aldi Nord) 30.900 +1.6%
dm 9.040 +7.8%
Rossmann 7.900 +7.8%
Real 6.350 -17,5%
Globus 5.267 +0.5%
Bartels-Langness Gruppe 5.087 +4.4%
METRO 5.055 -3.0%

Supermarkets and discounters

Supermarkets such as Edeka, Rewe, Kaufland are the most common type of food retailer in Germany and offer a wide variety of products, including fresh produce, dairy products, meat, baked goods, and non-food items.

Discounters, such as Aldi, Lidl, Netto and Penny, are a popular alternative to supermarkets in Germany and offer a limited range of products at very low prices. These stores typically focus on own-brand products and essentials, and customers often bring their own bags to carry their purchases.

Here is a list of the top 10 supermarket/discounter chains in Germany:


The profile of the EDEKA Group, which is made up of medium-sized companies and cooperatives, is based on the successful cooperation of three levels: Nationwide, around 3,500 independent retailers give EDEKA a face. At the retail level, they take on the role of local suppliers who stand for food quality and enjoyment. They are supported by seven regional wholesalers who deliver fresh goods to the EDEKA stores every day and are also on hand to assist with everything from sales to expansion issues. The EDEKA strategy is coordinated at the EDEKA head office in Hamburg. It manages the nationwide retail business as well as the successful "Wir ♥ Lebensmittel." campaign. This is where the ideas for achieving cross-network goals come from.


Netto is a leading German discount supermarket chain, offering a wide range of products at low prices. They have the largest selection of food in the German discount segment. Netto Marken-Discount stands for both popular, high-quality own-brand products and well-known branded goods. They are a subsidiary company of the Edeka Group.


As a sustainability-oriented discounter for fresh goods, Lidl stands for the best quality at the best price as well as a fast, simple and reliable shopping experience. They operate their business in a systematic, simple and uncomplicated way and therefore offer the best price-performance ratio. As a hybrid brand, they are close to customers: Their online service is complementary to their physical business model with extensive range of food and non-food products. Today, as part of the Schwarz Group based in Neckarsulm, Lidl is one of the leading food retail companies in Germany and Europe. Lidl currently operates over 12,200 shops in 31 countries worldwide.


As part of the Schwarz Group companies, Kaufland is one of the leading food retailers in the European market. To this day, Kaufland is represented in eight European countries with over 1,500 shops and more than 155,000 employees. Their shops are in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Republic of Moldova. In all countries, we stand for high quality of products, a large selection and fair prices. Kaufland's diverse product range comprises an average of 30,000 items, consisting of regional quality products, branded goods and attractive own brands, leaving nothing to be desired.


In 1927, 17 retail cooperatives joined together to form the "Revisionsverband der Westkaufgenossenschaften" - REWE for short - to organise the collective purchase of groceries. The result was a group of cooperative companies that today operates internationally and is successful in the retail and tourism sectors. REWE is the first food retailer in Germany to combine an online shop with a delivery and collection service.


PENNY is the discount store at the centre of people’s lives that offers high-quality products, customer-focused ranges with a large choice of fresh products and favourable prices at all times. PENNY operates successfully in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania. In each country, PENNY acts as a national discounter with country specific ranges. PENNY is wholly owned by the German REWE Group.


The ALDI Süd and Aldi Nord Group is organised as a unified organisation in Germany. They are represented by independent regional companies throughout western and southern Germany. Each of these is managed by a managing director with sole power of representation. Their decentralised organisational structure allows them to be close to the consumer and to respond to the respective regional needs of our customers in the best possible way. Their product range covers all important everyday products. The ALDI Nord Group, with which Aldi Süd have family ties, operates its own network of stores in northern and eastern Germany.


METRO is marketplace for the catering industry. Selected with a passion for quality: In METRO's food and non-food wholesale, large-scale consumers and caterers will find what they are looking for


meinreal is one of the German supermarket chains offering a wide range of products. Except for various food products, they offer a wide assortment of household goods, electrical appliances, books, media, textiles and footwear, sports goods, and stationery.


Over many years, the company has developed into one of the leading retail companies in Germany. They are one of the few large, independent family-owned companies in the German retail sector. In addition to a total of 65 market halls and 89 DIY stores in Germany, the GLOBUS Group also includes 27 full-range stores in the Czech Republic and Russia as well as two DIY stores in Luxembourg.

Organic and Vegan supermarkets

Sales of organic food in Germany increased by five percent in 2023, resulting in total sales of 16.08 billion euros

As in previous years, food retailers played a decisive role in sales growth, particularly discounters and drugstores. Food retailers increased their organic sales by 7.2% to €10.82 billion in 2023, giving them a 67% share of the food market. Discounters accounted for around 40 percent. Drugstores successfully attracted customers with a wide range of products and often low prices. They now have a market share of around a quarter in the dry goods segment. In 2023, traditional food retailers recorded a 47% increase in organic sales compared to 2019. The increase across all shopping outlets was 31% in the same period.

Discounters accounted for around 30% of organic sales, with an even higher share for fresh products. They have expanded their product ranges in recent years, in some cases adding higher-priced products to their range and also increasing prices. As a result, the growth in turnover was far more significant with an increase of seven percent.[Footnote 2]

There are many supermarkets specialising in organic food.


136 stores

Alnatura is a German-based chain of organic food stores. It was founded in 1992 and offers a wide range of organic products, including fresh produce, dairy, and packaged goods.

denn's Biomarkt

240 stores

denn's Biomarkt is a German chain of organic supermarkets that provides customers with a wide selection of organic food, beverages, and personal care products.


33 stores

Basic is a German organic food retailer that provides customers with a wide range of organic products, including fresh produce, dairy, meat, and packaged goods.

Bio Company

60 stores

Bio Company is a German organic food retailer that offers customers a wide range of organic products, including fresh produce, dairy, meat, and packaged goods.

Reformhaus Bacher

more than 25 stores

Reformhaus Bacher is a German chain of organic food stores that provides customers with a wide range of organic products, including supplements, personal care products, and fresh produce.


1 store

Veganz provides customers with a wide range of vegan products, including fresh produce, dairy alternatives, meat alternatives, and packaged goods.

Shopping online

Online only supermarkets

Picnic is an online supermarket that provides home delivery services for groceries and household items. Founded in 2015, in the Netherlands and aims to provide a more efficient and eco-friendly shopping experience, using electric delivery vehicles and packaging materials that are recyclable or biodegradable.

Picnic offers competitive pricing, with many of its products priced lower than those found in traditional supermarkets. The company also offers flexible delivery options, including same-day and next-day delivery, making it a convenient choice for busy consumers. Other online grocery delivery services include MyTime, Picnic, FlaschenPost and Bringmeister.

Online supermarkets and discounters

Online discounters, such as Lidl and Penny, offer a limited range of products at low prices, available for home delivery. These stores typically focus on own-brand products and basic essentials, and offer competitive prices and delivery options to attract customers.

Private label production

As in most European countries, the demand for private label products is increasing.

As the UK is one of the leading manufacturers in private label products, there is considerable potential in this sector.

Labelling and packaging

On 6 July 2011, the European Parliament adopted the compromise package on the Food Information Regulation (FID) negotiated with the Council and the Commission. The regulation ensures that manufacturers have uniform and clear requirements for labelling throughout Europe and that consumers are comprehensively informed when buying food.

German labelling requirements require this information in German:

  • sell by date
  • nutritional information
  • ingredients and allergens in BOLD PRINT

Details of the Food Business Operator (FBO) responsible for the product need to be on the product when it goes into retail

Nutrition labelling

Nutritional information is mandatory on a uniform basis throughout the European Union. The calorific value and six nutrients - the amounts of fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and salt - must be indicated in all countries.

In addition to the mandatory information in the nutritional value table, information on guideline values for daily intake ("GDAs") can be used voluntarily. Germany is a pioneer in voluntary nutrition information. Already more than 80 percent of packaged foods bear nutritional information.

Allergen labelling

Allergenic ingredients must also be visually highlighted, for example by using a different font or a different background colour. Furthermore, there is an additional obligation to provide information on allergens even for unpackaged food.

Origin labelling

A new origin labelling has been introduced for fresh meat. In addition to the indication of the origin of beef, which was already in force, in future pork, lamb, poultry and goat will also be indicated as to where they come from.

Food imitations

For foods where an ingredient that is classically used is replaced by another ingredient, the labelling must make this clear. The substitute ingredient is indicated next to the product name. Meat or fish products that might appear to be a grown piece but are composed of smaller pieces shall bear the words "composed of pieces of meat" or "composed of pieces of fish".

Font sizes

The mandatory particulars specified shall be placed in a conspicuous position in a clear, legible manner with a minimum font size of 1.2 mm. If the largest surface area of the packaging is less than 80 square centimetres, the font size must be 0.9 mm.


Recycling – Green Dot (plus eight other organisations)


Most supermarkets stipulate IFS, BRC or at the very least SALSA and other relevant EU certifications (vegan, organic)

Guidance on labelling legislation in Europe.


The EU’s Packaging and packaging waste guidance provides extensive guidance.  You should ensure your packaging adheres to the German packaging laws.

More information is available at

What German buyers look for

  • A Euro price list
  • Have a good story to tell about your product (USP, background info etc.)
  • Have a customer base in the UK and ideally already exporting. Germans like to see a track record or evidence of business relationships
  • Be able to meet the demand of larger supermarket chains, should they be interested

Pfand (deposit) system

There are compulsory deposits on cans, PET and most glass bottles.

Either the UK company or their German distributor/importer/partner need to first register with DPG to obtain a unique GS1 barcode to display/print as a label

Once issued with the unique GS1 barcode the company can register the goods with the dgp pfandsystem and have the labels printed - which also involves a fee.

This is an example deposit label and a company that is certified to print DPG labels

How it works

A German consumer pays a deposit according to the type of bottle used.

When a bottle or can is returned the consumer receives the deposit paid back and the company that has registered the can/bottle is charged the relevant deposit fee.

Consumers can return the bottle to any retailers selling drinks. They do not have to return it to the shop where the drink was purchased

More information is available here -

A tax of 25 cents is payable on milk-based drinks in plastic bottles.

From 1 January 2024 consumers can return empty plastic bottles of milk and mixed milk drinks to deposit machines. In addition to normal milk, this also applies to cocoa, coffee drinks, kefir and drinking yoghurt, for example. The empty bottles can then be returned wherever disposable plastic bottles are sold, for example in supermarkets.

The mandatory deposit applies to drinks with a milk content of at least 50 per cent in plastic bottles. Some energy drinks, which previously remained deposit-free due to their high whey content, also fall under the regulation. This naturally makes the products 25 cents more expensive. The deposit rule does not apply to Tetra Paks. [footnote 3]

Finding agents and distributors

These websites can help you showcase your top products to international buyers, agents and distributors.

By listing your business for free on these directories, your profile will be regularly viewed by 100's of trusted food and drink buyers who are looking to introduce new products to their markets.

Trade fairs

Germany is the world's No.1 trade fair venue for international trade fairs. Of the globally leading trade fairs in the individual sectors, almost two thirds take place in Germany. Every year around 150 international trade fairs and exhibitions take place, hosting 180,000 exhibitors and around 10 million visitors.

German is where the world comes to do business. At the trade fairs and exhibitions more than half of the exhibitors come from abroad, one third of them from countries outside Europe. Around a quarter of the visitors come from abroad.

Some relevant trade shows for the sector are:


4 – 8 October 2025


Anuga is the world's largest trade fair for food and beverages and takes place every two years. It showcases the latest food trends and innovations in the industry. In 2023 there were approximately 140,000 industry visitors from 200 countries and around 7,900 exhibitors from 118 nations.


2 – May February 2025


ISM, as the international marketplace number one for the confectionery and snack industry, uniquely showcases the global offering of confectionery and snacks.

Around 25,000 trade visitors from 135 countries attended the show in 2023.

1,300 exhibitors from 70 countries, 88 % of the exhibitors are international.


16 - 18 March 2025


ProWein is the world's leading trade fair for wine and spirits. It showcases the latest trends and innovations in the wine and spirits industry as well as craft beer.


14-18 March 2025


For decades INTERNORGA has been regarded as the leading trade fair for the entire out-of-home market, as an innovator and source of trends, visionary concepts, new products, services and services.

Other important trade shows are:

Fruit Logistica

5 – 7 February 2025


Fruit Logistica is the world's leading trade fair for the fresh produce industry and takes place every year in Berlin, Germany. It showcases the latest trends and innovations in the fresh produce industry, attracting over 78,000 visitors and 2,900 exhibitors from over 130 countries.

Fish International

8 – 10 February 2026


The fish international is the only trade fair for fish and seafood in Germany - a platform for the trade and the gastronomy. In Bremen, the trade finds out about new products on the German market and gets an overview of innovations and developments.


18 – 22 May 2025


As the leading world trade fair, IBA has been the meeting place for experts from the baking, confectionery and snack industries since 1949. It is the platform for innovations from the entire industry and offers a complete overview of all innovations on the market.

2023 figures:

  • 1,073 exhibitors
  • 46 exhibitor countries
  • 57,000 visitors from 150 countries


15 -19 September 2025


DrinkTec is the world's leading trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry and takes place every four years in Munich, Germany. It showcases the latest trends and innovations in the industry. In 2022 there were 1,002 exhibitors from 55 countries. 50,000 visitors of which 70% were international.

Bar Convent Berlin

14-16 October 2024


Bar Convent Berlin is the largest trade fair for the bar and beverage industry. Bar owners, bartenders, distributors, and manufacturers from almost 90 countries come to the BCB in Berlin every year to make new contacts, learn about product innovations and trends and attend seminars. BCB has expanded its global network with further shows in Brooklyn, São Paulo, and Singapore.

Food Packaging


May 7 – 13 2025


Interpack is a leading trade fair for the packaging industry and takes place every three years in Düsseldorf, Germany. It covers the entire process chain in the packaging industry, from packaging materials and packaging machines to packaging design and packaging services. In 2023 visitors from 156 countries attend interpack. There were 2,809 exhibitors and 142,060 visitors, two thirds of them coming from abroad. Alongside many European countries, the largest visitor nations were India, Japan and the USA. Around 75% of visitors came from middle or top management.


3-8 May 2025

IFFA represents the entire market for the processing, packaging and sale of meat and alternative proteins. It thus offers the global food industry a platform for innovation and networking.

Organic, vegetarian and vegan


11 - 14 February 2025


BioFach is the world's leading trade fair for organic food and takes place every year. Since 1990, BIOFACH has been the essential meeting place for pioneers and newcomers who share a passion for organic food and the organic market and want to exchange ideas with like-minded people along the entire value chain.

In 2023 there were 2,791 exhibitors and 35,991 visitors from 137 countries.



VeggieWorld is Europe's largest trade fair series for the vegan lifestyle. Since 2011, VeggieWorld has been showing that a plant-based lifestyle is not only sustainable, conscious and animal-friendly, but also fun.

You can search for more trade shows here.

Trade associations

Trade Associations play a very important role in Germany. They are useful contacts for UK companies looking to get in contact with partners in Germany as they can make introductions to their members.

These Trade Associations play an important role in the industry:

Deutscher Hotel- und Gaststättenverband (DEHOGA)

(German hotel and restaurant association)

The German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) is the largest trade association for the hospitality industry in Germany. It represents the interests of over 57,000 member companies in the hotel, restaurant, and catering industries and provides information, support, and training to its members.

Bundesverband der Deutschen Süßwarenindustrie (BDSI)

(Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry)

The Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI) is the trade association for the confectionery industry in Germany. It represents the interests of over 140 member companies and provides information, support, and training to its members on topics such as market developments, technical issues, and regulations.

Bundesverband der Deutschen Getränkeindustrie (BDG)

(Federal Association of the German Beverage Trade)

The Federal Association of the German Beverage Industry (BDG) is the trade association for the beverage industry in Germany. It represents the interests of over 130 member companies and provides information, support, and training to its members on topics such as market developments, technical issues, and regulations.

Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren (BNN)

(Federal Association for Natural Food and Natural Products)

The Federal Association for Natural Food and Natural Products (BNN) is the trade association for the natural food and natural products industry in Germany. It represents the interests of over 400 member companies and provides information, support, and training to its members on topics such as market developments, technical issues, and regulations.

Deutscher Bäcker-Verband (DBV)

(German Bakery Association)

The German Bakery Association (DBV) is the trade association for the bakery industry in Germany. It represents the interests of over 6,000 member companies and provides information, support, and training to its members on topics such as market developments, technical issues, and regulations.

Deutscher Fleischer-Verband (DFV)

(German Butchers' Association)

The German Butchers' Association (DFV) is the trade association for the butcher industry in Germany. It represents the interests of over 4,500 member companies and provides information, support, and training to its members on topics such as market developments, technical issues, and regulations.

Deutscher Milchviehhalterverband (DMV)

(German Dairy Farmers' Association)

The German Dairy Farmers' Association (DMV) is the trade association for dairy farmers in Germany. It represents the interests of over 8,000 member companies and provides information, support, and training to its members on topics such as market developments, technical issues, and regulations.

Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Ernährungsindustrie e.V.

(Federation of German Food and Drink Industries)

The Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE) is the political top-level association of the German food and drink industry. Its membership comprises the branch associations and major companies. BVE's principal task is the representation of its members' common interests in the national and international context.

You can find details of more trade associations (in German) here.

Trade journals

Trade journals frequently contain data that can’t be found elsewhere. They generally contain articles discussing issues of importance for industry players and can be a key part of your research process.

Lebensmittel Zeitung

Lebensmittel Zeitung is the leading trade and business newspaper for the consumer goods industry in Germany.

You can use the below links (in German) to find trade journals in Germany:

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