Food processing

The food and beverage production sectors provide a full range of opportunities for investors, including a robust supply chain, an experienced workforce and high-quality standards. Domestic producers can effectively track the product quality, from ingredients and production stages to entering the market, enabling fresh and natural food products that consumers seek.

Latvia is one of the greenest countries in Europe, and it also has one of the highest shares of organic farming land that keeps expanding as demand for organic produce grows. Our subsectors demonstrate a strong export capacity, especially fruit and vegetables, fish and grains. Fun fact - we are the fifth-largest cranberry producers per capita in the world!

 

Main subsectors

  • Dairy products, fish processing, meat and egg production, grains and baked goods, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, and confectionaries 
  • Beverage production includes juices, carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, mineral and drinking water, beer, and other alcohol products

Fast facts

  • Nowadays, we all know the importance of locally grown food also from an environmental point of view. Around 13% of Latvia’s territory is agricultural land, and most ingredients are locally grown – providing producers with a robust and efficient supply chain. Moreover, 14.8% of agricultural lands are for organic farming - the 7th highest share in the EU in 2019. Latvia has export potential in the organic sector, as we have the second-highest share of organic livestock and the fourth-highest percentage of organic vegetable production in the EU. 
  • Grains are certainly one of the things than Latvians have in abundance – we are in second place in Europe in terms of rye and wheat production per capita.
  • Also, investors fancy a good meal made by Latvian local produce! The flow of foreign investment increases every year. At the end of 2019, foreign direct investment in the particular sector reached 274 million EUR, comprising 13% of the total FDI in manufacturing.

Industry statistics

  • Our food is one of the best in the world, appreciated both domestically and abroad. The export amounts to 0.6 billion EUR and comprises 4.8% of total Latvia's exports in 2018. We export more than half of the produce of fruit and vegetables, fish and grain products. 
  • Food and beverage production is one of the largest industrial sectors in Latvia. The food industry sector produced 22% of the total output in manufacturing (2019). 
  • Who are the connoisseurs of Latvian foods and drinks? The largest export partners are Lithuania (19%), Estonia (12%), Germany (10%), Denmark (6%), and Sweden (6%). However, you can find our food products also in the USA, Canada, Japan and many other countries. So don't be surprised if you see our rye bread, cereal, curd snacks, beer, and many other delicious things in large and small stores across the globe. 

 Employment and education

  • This sector is one of the biggest employers in Latvia, employing around 24 thousand people. The vast majority of them in edibles manufacturing, 21 thousand, and 3 thousand in beverage manufacturing. Additionally, more than 40 thousand people are working in the agricultural sector.
  • The food processing sector accounted for 19.3% of the total number of people employed in manufacturing in 2019.
  • If you want to study Food technology in Latvia, then your first choice would be the school located in the beautiful town of Jelgava. It is the best educational institution in the food processing sector, the Food technology Faculty of the Latvian Agricultural University (LLU), where more than 450 students are currently enrolled. Other higher education institutions and multiple vocational schools also offer study programs in the field of food processing.

Industry leaders

  • Dobeles Dzirnavnieks is one of the leading grain processors in the Baltics and the largest pasta producer in Northern Europe. Dobeles Dzirnavnieks operates in grain purchasing, processing, and storing with a storage capacity of 230 000 tons of grain. The company produces all flour types and flour mixes, pasta, cereal flakes, and organic products. 
  • Food Union is the largest dairy company in Latvia and the leading ice cream producer in the Baltic States. The FOOD UNION group unites two major dairy and ice cream producers in Latvia – Rīgas Piena Kombināts and Valmieras Piens.
  • ORKLA Confectionery & Snacks – Orkla Latvija produces food supplements, snacks, and confectionery. It unites two companies - “Orkla Foods Latvija” and “Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Latvija”. Orkla Latvija is part of the Norwegian concern Orkla, a leading consumer brand in the Nordic and Baltic region.
  • Latvijas balzams is a leading producer of alcoholic beverages in the Baltics with a history steeped in tradition since 1900. Latvijas balzams represents all segments of strong and light alcoholic drinks, with more than 100 product names. It is also the producer of such globally-known brands as Stolichnaya®, Moskovskaya®, and Riga Black Balsam®.
  • Balticovo has been operating since 1972. Currently, it is the largest producer of eggs and egg products in Northern Europe – their chickens lay more than 600 million eggs a year. Their products are available in retail shops, hotels, and restaurants, and 70% of the products are exported to several European Union and other countries worldwide – a total of 20 countries.

 

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