Exporting food to Germany - how it works

Germany is currently the largest export market for Swiss food and beverages: 47.7% of exports went to Germany in 2019, with a value of approximately 1.2 billion Swiss francs. In our industry report and in the webinar recording, we demonstrate how Swiss SMEs can become part of the German food market and what to take note of when exporting to our neighbor.


Consumers in Germany usually associate Switzerland with “good and expensive.” This assumption is also true for foodstuffs. It is undeniable that Swiss chocolate and Swiss cheese in particular enjoy extraordinary popularity and are indispensable in German food market ranges. These product groups can even be found in the discount sector. But other food products also have potential, particularly if they coincide with the following trends:

  • Vegan and plant-based diets
  • Climate-neutral and sustainable food
  • Meal replacement + food “to go”
  • Personalized nutrition

Packaging fees and deposit system

In the spirit of prevention, reuse and recycling, trade and industry in Germany have an obligation to take back and recycle packaging. This applies to transport, secondary as well as sales packaging. The Packaging Act (VerpackG) is the underlying basis for this. Accordingly, Swiss manufacturers are likewise required to take part in the takeback system.

According to VerpackG, deposits are also required on certain beverage containers in Germany, although milk and juices are generally exempt.

Prepare for market entry thoroughly

Germany’s market size alone, with roughly 83 million consumers and a huge portfolio of trade customers, offers Swiss exporters a variety of approaches to explore business development potential. Experience has shown that market visits are one of the most important preparatory tools to gain a thorough understanding of the existing competition and to approach German buyers on this basis. Attending Anuga, Biofach and other trade shows is also highly recommended.

In our detailed report and webinar recording, we demonstrate how you can successfully export foodstuffs.


Short study: Exporting food successfully to Germany (02/21)


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