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

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Though small, the market can serve as an entry point into southeastern Europe, and products such as grains, snap peas, maple syrup, ginseng and cranberries are particularly needed.

Austria’s economy, though small, tends to perform above the EU average—it logged a GDP growth rate of 2.7 percent in Q2 of 2017, for example, and has a promising outlook for the years to come.

Austria’s food and agricultural feed import needs are rising. The total amount needed to satisfy domestic needs in 2015-2016 required importing 2.7 million tons of grains, 1.5 million tons of fruit and vegetables, 268,000 tons of potatoes, 759 million liters of wine, 573,200 tons of oilseeds and 352,700 tons of plant-derived oils.

The Austrian retail shelf space is dominated by foods and beverages from Germany and other EU countries. Nevertheless, there are good opportunities for U.S. products, particularly in the high-end and organic market segments. Organic products are very popular in Austria: around 6.5 percent of all goods purchased in retail stores are organic. Besides specialized bio-supermarkets like Denn’s, large mainstream Austrian supermarket chains like Billa, Merkur, Penny and Adeg, as well as its drugstore, Bipa, have added organic food to their store portfolio. Especially when it comes to eggs, milk products, potatoes and tomatoes, Austrian consumers prefer organic over conventional. Austrian consumers also prefer that their products contain little or no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, or artificial colors or flavors.

The U.S. is Austria’s fourth-largest trading partner, and the country can serve as an entry point to southeastern Europe.

In particular, Wisconsin snap pea producers should consider the Austrian market, especially producers who grow organic snap peas. Snap peas are only cultivated in small amounts within Austria, but demand is increasing, and the country imports its snap peas mainly from Kenya and Morocco, where pesticides are heavily used. Maple syrup products also present strong opportunities, as these become more and more popular in Austria. Wisconsin producers can find further opportunities in high-quality organic ginseng and cranberry products. 

Looking at numbers for the first nine months of 2017, Wisconsin exported edible fruits and nuts worth $66,441 to Austria. The value for the same time period in 2016 was $53,576, showing an increase of 24 percent year-over-year.

Wisconsin companies considering entering the Austrian market should look at attending the GAST trade fair, taking place in Salzburg from Nov. 10-14, 2018.

Companies can find additional information on import requirements on the website of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.