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State Development Corporation of Thuringia (LEG Thüringen)

Dept. Investment, International Business and Cluster Promotion

Mainzerhofstraße 12
99084 Erfurt
Phone: +49 (0) 361 5603-450
Fax: +49 (0) 361 5603-328
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Food Industry in Thuringia

What do Thuringian bratwurst and Brandt zwieback have in common? They are both made in Thuringia. With good reason, too: the region offers a unique combination of tradition, cus-tomer intimacy and cost-efficient production.


Thuringia has an excellent reputation in food production. The sector has been among the top revenue sources for years. Flexible, medium-sized companies benefit from Thuringia’s repu-tation as being home to first-class quality products. The Free State is actively building on this goodwill for Thuringian food products: It does agricultural marketing, guards the certificates of origin and awards the quality seal „Tested Quality – Thuringia “.

Facts and Figures

  • ca. 450 companies
  • ca. 24,300 employees
  • more than 4 billion Euros sales
  • geographical proximity to markets with great purchasing power
  • specialized research institutions
  • committed industry networks

Key products

  • Meat and sausage products
  • Fruit and vegetable processing
  • Confectionery
  • Bread and pastries
  • Frozen foods
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Condiments and seasoning
  • Soft drinks and mineral water
  • Breweries
  • Wine and Spirits
  • Workforce

    Industrial food production has become so advanced that it requires highly skilled workers. However, specialists are needed for traditional manufacturing, too. Thuringia offers a wide range of training programs so companies can easily find highly qualified personnel.

    University education

    Derzeit sind fast 3.000 Studierende u. a. in einem der folgenden Studiengänge mit Bezug zur Ernährungsbranche immatrikuliert:

    • Nutrition Science, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
    • Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
    • Microbiology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena 
    • Chemical Biology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
    • Molecular Life Science, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena Erfurt
    • Biotechnology, Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena
    • Horticulture, Erfurt University of Applied Sciences

    Vocational and further training

    In Thuringia, tomorrow’s specialists complete a rigorous course of theoretical and practical training. All the vocational training institutions work closely together. The following vocational colleges specialize in horticulture and the food industry:

    • State Vocational School for Business, Administration and Nutrition, Weimar
    • Stadtroda College of Agriculture
    • College of the Horticultural Teaching and Research Institute, Erfurt

    Thuringia is also peppered with many other agricultural schools. The Federal Employment Agency will pay for special training so that unemployed skilled workers can acquire the exact skills that companies need. More information is available from the Food and Beverage Em-ployers’ Association of Thuringia (Arbeitgebervereinigung Nahrung und Genuss Thüringen).


  • Research and Development

    Thuringia places a premium on building strong relationships between business and research. Specialized partners are available for R&D Projects.

    Selected research service providers:

    Other industry-specific institutions:

    Thüringer Ernährungsnetzwerk (Thuringia Nutrition Network) (TH-ERN)

    Supported by the Economics Ministry and Agriculture Ministry of the State of Thuringia, firms have joined forces to create the Thuringia Nutrition Network. As well as representing the in-terests of the industry, the newly formed organization also intends to act as an interface for scientific and technological transfer between the research sector and business enterprises. The firms work together to give the Thuringian food industry a strong image and, with the aid of coordinated marketing strategies, secure long-term employment and growth for this industry.

  • Selected Companies

    August Storck KG
    Storck’s third German production facility was constructed in Ohrdruf in record time. The fac-tory is highly modern, primarily designed for the manufacture of chocolate-specialities (e.g. the famous brands MERCI and Knoppers) and is being continuously expanded.

    Ospelt food GmbH
    One of the leading makers of brand goods, the Liechtenstein-based company produces fro-zen pizzas for every taste at its plant in Apolda. The range is being constantly broadened, and a state-of-the-art, fully automated refrigerated high-bay warehouse ensures prompt delivery to the customers on the FIFO principle.

    Dr. Schär Deutschland GmbH
    Since 2006, the South Tyrol-based maker of gluten-free bread and bread substitute products, has also had a production plant in Apolda. The new location was needed to support the growing demand, but is also in keeping with the company’s principle of producing locally and near to its markets.

    Griesson - de Beukelaer GmbH & Co. KG
    Since the opening of its plant in Kahla, Griesson - de Beukelaer has set new standards in the production of biscuits and confectionary. The site is one of the most modern in Europe and – besides the production facility – is home to both an infocenter and an administration building.

    Brandt Zwieback-Schokoladen GmbH + Co. KG
    The Brandt Group employs over 800 people at its four sites in Germany. With a share of over 80%, Brandt is the market leader in Germany, and also sells its products worldwide. More than 15 years ago the company relocated its main production to Ohrdruf to take advantage of the good investment and production possibilities in Thuringia.

    Viba sweets GmbH
    Located in Floh-Seligenthal and with a long tradition in the food sector, the company produces sweets and is the leader in the German market for nougat products. Since 2012, the pres-tigious “Nougat World” in Schmalkalden allows visitors a unique brand experience.

    Kaufland Fleischwaren Heiligenstadt GmbH & Co. KG
    Kaufland opened its new meat processing plant with more than 600 employees about five years ago in Heilbad Heiligenstadt. In this modern facility about 250 meat products and spe-cialty sausages are produced, packed and shipped to 630 Kaufland grocery stores throughout Germany.

    Selected companies

LEG Investor Service

Individual, competent, non-bureaucratic and flexible.

Thüringer Ernährungsnetzwerk e.V.

Kooperativ, konstruktiv und kompetent

Downloads and information


  • Factsheet Food Industry

    Thuringia is a hot spot for the food industry. The Free State in the center of Germany enjoys a towering reputation for Food.

    Download[pdf, 332 KB]


Axel Wipprecht

Axel Wipprecht Director Life Sciences/Food Industry/Environmental Technologies

Invest in Thuringia

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