Export of Belgian food is booming


Between 2000 and 2014 the trade in Belgian agri-food products has increased by 86.1% and more than doubled with countries outside of the European Union. This is shown by a study carried out by the FPS Economy. That means the agri-food industry accounts for 2.2% of the Belgian gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.2% of the total value of Belgian export. Chocolate, bakery products, meat, vegetables and fruit remain at the absolute forefront.

The FPS Economy stresses the enormous importance of the agri-food industry for our economy. "The increase of the export within this sector was even stronger than the increase of the Belgian economy as a whole", the press release says. The results show that Belgium provides strong performances concerning agri-food products; however German and Dutch neighbours are performing even better.

"This confirms that our agri-food industry is excellent in both quality and figures", federal Ministers Kris Peeters and Willy Borsus say. "These numbers show that the Belgian agri-food industry really is an economic superpower: 95,000 jobs and 7,700 companies. Beer, chocolate and fries are only the tip of a gigantic iceberg. It's a good development that more and more consumers all over the world are also discovering our hidden champions such as speculoos or vegetable-based drinks." He also points out that time and time again the Belgian food industry proves its innovative character: "Ever since 2010 the sector has reached the EU 2020 objective to invest over 2% in research and development. No less than 17.5% of their turnover is from new products." Federal Minister for Agriculture Borsus adds: "We should also point out that the hygiene and quality, the traceability and the excellent reputation of our products are positive factors for our export. The same applies to the credibility of the Belgian system and the Belgian certifications."

Belgium's most important trade partners within the European Union are the neighbouring countries. Outside the EU exports go to the United States, Russia and Algeria. For the export there are five important sectors within the agri-food industry which together account for 76.4% of the total export of the agri-food industry. These are the sectors chocolate, sugar and other foods (22.3%), fruits and vegetables (18.8%), meat (14.9%), dairy products (11.4%) and drinks (9%).