Region/Countries: Europe Industry: Agriculture / Timber, Food and Beverage Date: April 2017

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Greece imports significant amounts of meat, grains, dairy, seafood, fruits and vegetables, creating opportunities for Wisconsin companies.

After several years of economic downturn, an optimistic outlook is returning for Greece’s economy. The country’s GDP decreased by 0.1 percent to $194.2 billion in 2016. However, the Greek government is projecting economic growth of 2.7 percent for 2017. One of the sectors that made a strong contribution to the GDP in 2016 was the agricultural sector, with a 3.6 percent share of the GDP.

Although food is one of the most crucial export goods in Greece, the country also relies on imports from abroad. In 2016 Greece exported food and beverages worth €4.5 billion, whereas its food and beverage imports amounted to €5.6 billion. One of the products that must be imported in large amounts is meat, as the country is only able to cover 25 percent of domestic demand. Greece imported €1.1 billion worth of meat in 2016. Furthermore, due to the fact that bakery products, and bread in particular, are essential to Greek cuisine, demand for imported agricultural products such as grains is also very high. Greece imported €612 million worth of grains in 2016. Apart from meat and grains, other food categories Greece imported in 2016 included milk, dairy products and eggs (€748 million); fish and seafood (€429 million); fruits and vegetables (€747 million); sugar, sugar products and honey (€231 million); and beverages (€281 million).

One of Greece’s key import sources is the U.S. In 2016, U.S. food and beverage exports to Greece amounted to $32.6 million, compared to $40.5 million in 2015. Exports of seafood, dairy and bakery products, however, have increased every year since 2014. Moreover, U.S. exports of agricultural products to Greece—for example, oilseeds and grains, vegetables and fruits—have fluctuated in the last few years, but also increased in 2016.

Wisconsin exported $47,589 worth of oilseeds and grains to Greece in 2016, up from $22,355 in 2014 and $18,918 in 2015. Being second in the nation in the food production of milk, dairy cows and oats in the U.S., Wisconsin has a high potential to increase its exports to Greece. Wisconsin companies should not miss the opportunity to provide their products, especially food products, to Greece.

A good option for pursuing business in Greece is to attend the Food Expo, which will take place in Athens March 10-12, 2018. Another option is to use databases such as to get information and contact details for food and beverage importers and distributors in Greece. Additional information can be found on the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food website.