The agri-food industry in Portugal is fundamental to the country’s growth strategy. It contributes directly to the increase of exports and guarantees food self-sufficiency. This industry occupies a prominent place in the Portuguese economy, not only for its economic weight – having a turnover of 2.000 million euros and representing 16% of the total Portuguese industry – but also for developing genuine and fresh products, that are worthy of the consumer confidence. Following Portugal’s accession to the European Union, the industry had to adapt to all manufacturing and presentation standards, including product labelling, hygiene and additives. The agri-food industry in Portugal is one of the more developed sectors and with an exponential growth.
The Portuguese agri-food sector is characterized by the development of markedly Portuguese products, with an already high and increasing level of competitiveness in foreign markets. Some of the products produced exclusively in Portugal are strongly associated with healthy eating habits.
As mentioned previously, the agri-food industry has been in charge of improving the food safety systems, which reflected in the growing confidence of new consumers and new markets, as well as focusing on strengthening its products image, by investing in marketing.
In 2014, Portugal’s exports hit the highest values in the past thirteen years, reaching approximately 48 billion euros. Compared to 2001, where exports reached around 28 billion euros, it is possible to state there has been a considerable growth that must be understood in the financial and social context of a country that went through a few years of a difficult economic crisis.
In percentage terms and in a broader point of view, the agri-food industry was the sector that grew the most, with agriculture presenting gross values around 2.900 million and food approximately 2.500 million, corresponding to 6,0% and 5,3%, respectively. Therefore, this sector, represents approximately 11% of Portuguese exports.