NEW ORLEANS – Food exports from the United States to Germany increased nearly 15 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the latest industry figures. Driven by strong spending in Europe's largest food market, Germany is attracting exporters and investors looking to tap the European market.

Producers located in Germany benefit from an export ratio of 28.7 percent, with the lion's share going to Europe.

"With over 80 million consumers, Germany is by far Europe's largest food market. Food producers in Germany benefit from its central location and world-class infrastructure, which allow them to quickly reach the affluent markets of western Europe and growth regions of eastern Europe," said Daniel Lindel, food industry expert at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin.

Germany's food and beverage industry accounts for annual revenue of nearly $200 billion, making it the second-largest food producer in Europe. Food represents Germany's fourth-largest industry, with more than half a million employees and thousands of international companies. Several new companies entered the industry in 2010, boosted by Germany's strong economic growth overall.

Germany's largest food industry segments are meat and dairy, confectionaries and alcoholic beverages — including Germany's beer and wine industries. Segments demonstrating the largest growth in recent years include chilled foods at more than 20 percent, in addition to fine foods, snacks and confectionaries, as well as frozen and convenience foods marked by approximately 10 percent growth.

Germany Trade & Invest will have representatives at this year's IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans from June 11-14 to share the latest market trends and business opportunities in Germany. Germany Trade & Invest is the foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany.