In the European food and agriculture industries, it turns out that size does matter. Across Europe larger businesses are thriving while smaller ones are struggling to maintain market share and profit margins. This raises the question of what really matters to the consumer: quality or quantity. Rising feed and fertilizer costs are making it difficult for smaller producers to maintain profits in a world where weak economies are demanding lower prices or at the very least no price increases. Domestic markets, once considered relatively well protected from imports of staple food products, are feeling the pinch from imports from both their European neighbours and non European countries.
Business has always been about taking chances. Inspirational business leaders such as Virgin’s Richard Branson and Microsoft’s Bill Gates have built large organisations by taking risks, while smaller, entrepreneurial companies take chances daily in terms of the orders they promise to fulfil and the suppliers with which they deal. Times are tough these days though. The economy has contracted and risks, no matter how they are measured, have an added element of danger.
Despite slowing economies in 2012, the European Union (EU) continues to be the largest economic pocket in the World. As the destination of goods and services, the EU imported more than USD 6 trillion over the last 12 months. As an exporter, the numbers are even more impressive with EU member states exporting more than USD 6 trillion. Despite the less than vibrant European economic picture, these numbers still emphasise the importance of these markets in the global economic picture.
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