Region/Countries: Europe, Hungary Industry: Food and Beverage Date: December 2018

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The strong growth of the overall economy is creating demand for imported products.

Hungary’s economy is expected to continue growing in 2019 by a projected growth rate of 3.2 percent. According to the latest statistics by Eurostat, about 18 percent of Hungarians’ total income was spent on food and beverages in 2016. This is 0.3 percent higher than the European average, and due to rising income, is expected to further expand in the next years.

According to market specialists, convenience food, including prepared meals and healthy food options, will gain importance in the future. In 2016, 76 percent of Hungarians claimed to pay attention to the health value of food, while in 1999 it was only 52 percent. Hungarian customers base their purchasing decisions on price and quality, with origin of certain food considered less important.

The food and beverage industry is an important sector of the manufacturing industry in Hungary, with a production share amounting to 11.5 percent in 2016. Challenges for the sector are immense production costs, security of constant production volume, and inconsistent quality due to outdated machinery and technology. The highest investment need exists in meat, fruit and vegetable, and dairy manufacturing. In recent years, a large amount of capital has been invested in slaughterhouses. MCS Vagohid, part of the Bonafarm Group, invested €70 million in 2017 in a modern slaughterhouse in Mohacs. Further expansion at this location for new manufacturing capacity is planned.

Even though most of the Hungarian imports come from other countries within the European Union, the U.S. is one of the most important overseas trade partners. Hungary’s food and beverage imports increased from €2.9 billion in 2013 to €4.5 billion in 2017. Opportunities for Wisconsin companies exists in supplying modern machinery for food manufacturing, especially for meat processing, and meat, fruit and dairy manufacturing. Further demand arises from health food trends that require imports of organic food products from abroad.

More information on the Hungarian food sector can be found at the website of the Ministry of Agriculture. Trade fairs are the best way to get to know the local market and establish contacts with businesses. Sirha Budapest, taking place in February 2020, provides a platform for local and international companies to present their products and get in touch with other players from the industry. Hortico is a trade fair specialized on agriculture and food taking place in August 2019.