Food Industry

Throughout their long history, Latvians have always been a nation of skilled farmers and livestock keepers for whom the rhythms of life were dictated by the changing seasons and daily farm chores. The country’s proximity to the sea created a climate and conditions favorable for farming and motivated coastal dwellers to become excellent fishermen.

Latvia’s food producers have embraced the challenge of meeting the demand for food that is fresh and natural, while taking advantage of modern technologies to ensure consistency, availability, and safety.

The food and beverage industry is the second largest industrial sector in Latvia, producing around 20 % of the value added in manufacturing in 2014. About 900 companies and registered private merchants are active in the food processing industry.

Each year more than 100 food specialists graduate from colleges and universities in Latvia, supplying our food processing companies with a highly qualified workforce.

In 2014, 21 % of all the people employed in manufacturing worked in the food industry.

Sector output in 2014 – EUR 1.7 billion
Export proportion of total sector’s turnover in 2014 – 35.5 %

Share of Food and Beverage Sector Turnover in 2014*

* provisional data
Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

Food and Beverage Output

* provisional data
Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

As shown in this graphic, Latvia’s food sector has enjoyed steady and stable growth over an extended period. However, the global financial crisis was also felt in the food industry, which clearly affected industry output in 2009. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the industry has overcome these difficulties and changed its focus to more actively developing export markets, which allowed the industry not only to maintain stable output, but also to increase output almost to the levels of 2007.

SECTOR EXPORTS

For obvious geographic reasons, the main export markets for Latvian food processing companies are Lithuania and Estonia. Europe is a large market that consumes many products produced in Latvia: hard cheeses, butter, milk and milk powder, canned fish, fruit and berry preparations, pickles, various grains, meat products, confectionery, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Latvian fruit and berry preparations are exported and used in the further production of yoghurts, ice creams, and cakes.

Latvian products are in high demand in CIS countries. The quality and taste of our products are highly evaluated here; they have a good reputation that has been established over a long period. Riga Sprats, dairy products, canned meat, and vegetables are particularly well known and in demand because of their excellent quality.

In addition to the export markets above, Latvian products are also sold in the UAE, South Africa, US, Israel, etc. Our products can be found all over the world under our own labels, different private labels, and as ingredients in diverse foods.

Exports by Product Groups in 2014

Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

In recent years, strong farmer co-ops such as Latvijas piens (Milk of Latvia) and Piena ceļš (Milky Way) have been established. Both of these co-ops own their own processing factories, where high-quality cheeses, sour cream, and curd are produced and exported all over the world.

Latvian companies in industry 
Database of Latvian exporters

Catalogue of fod products in Latvia:
www.foodlatvia.lv

Additional information at:
Full industry profile: Food Industry in Latvia
Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia: www.csb.gov.lv
Ministry of Agriculture of Latvia: www.zm.gov.lv
Latvian Federation of Food Enterprises: www.lpuf.lv
Latvian Traders Association: www.lta.lv
Food and Veterinary Service: www.pvd.gov.lv
Rural Development Service: www.lad.gov.lv
Latvian Institute of Agrarian Economics: www.lvaei.lv