The Food&Drink Industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Europe with an annual turnover of €1,048 trillion, half of which is generated by SMEs (49,3%). The sector is a leading employer in the EU manufacturing sector (15.0%) employing about 4.3 million people and is highly fragmented comprising some 287,000 companies (Eurostat).
Food production and consumption is responsible for a significant part (20- 30%) of all anthropogenic environmental impacts. According with a study that was conducted in Finland in 2009, the food chain contributes 14% to Finland’s impact on climate change. F&D manufacturers account for 5.3% of industrial final energy use globally (Eco-innovation).
In recent years, food industry is increasingly using eco-design tools to optimize the environmental performance of products and packaging. The “green” growth of the food industry sector, not only offers environmental benefits, but also supports the competitiveness and sustainability of the industry.
The outputs of EU-MERCI will be specifically validated for the agrifood industry at a pan-European level.