In 2019, 15.9 million people aged over 15 were employed in the food supply sector in the European Union (EU), representing 8% of total employment, Eurostat shows.
Almost half of people employed in the food supply sector worked in crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities (46%).
Meanwhile, jobs in the manufacture of food products accounted for 26% of employment of this sector, followed by jobs in: retail sale of food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores (15%), wholesale of food, beverages and tobacco (8%), manufacture of beverages (3%), wholesale of agricultural raw materials and live animals (2%) and fishing and aquaculture (1%).
The majority of food supply workers were men (59%) although the gender distribution varied with the activities: fishing and aquaculture recorded 88% of men while retail sale of food, beverages and tobacco registered 63% of women.
As regards the distribution by age groups, over one-third (38%) of people employed in the food supply sector in the EU were aged 35 to 49, while people aged 50 or above accounted for 34% and those aged 15-34 for 28%.
Romania recorded the highest share of food supply workers
Among the EU Member States, Romania recorded the highest share of food supply workers (23%), followed by Greece (18%) and Poland (14%). By contrast, the lowest shares were recorded in Luxembourg and Sweden (both 3%), followed by Denmark (4%).
Germany is the only EU Member State where women were predominant in the food supply (52% of women and 48% of men) while Ireland recorded the highest share of men (78%), followed by Malta (72%) and Luxembourg (69%).
In addition, only five EU Member States (Cyprus, Denmark, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden) had their workers aged 15-34 dominating the food supply sector.
In a majority (16 out of 27) of the EU Member States, the largest shares of food supply workers were in the 35-49 age group, with the highest shares reported in Bulgaria, Czechia, Spain and Hungary (all 43%), while in six EU Member States (Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal and Slovenia), people aged 50 and above accounted for the largest share of food supply workers.