The food trade in Germany

The food trade supplies the population with everyday necessities. Wholesalers supply large customers in industry and gastronomy, while food retailers are responsible for private households.

According to Statista, all distribution formats in Germany together generated around 139.4 billion euros in 2020, with an upward trend. The consumption of food by private households in Germany has been increasing for years. This and the constantly growing foreign trade are leading to rapid developments in the industry, both in terms of turnover and investment.

In addition to prices and food safety concerns, the market is increasingly focusing on sustainability and climate neutrality: seals, certifications and sustainability reports are now standard and serve as a basis for the purchase of products from the industry.

Certifications with GUTcert


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Your experts for energy and environmental management

Two workers in a vegetable wholesaler, a shopping trolley in the supermarket, a woman at the kaesetheke

Our service for the food trade

By introducing an energy management system according to ISO 50001, potential savings can be identified and energy sources can be used more efficiently. In addition, a certified system protects you against the particularly complex legislation in this area.

As an accredited certification body with a wide range of approvals, we issue certificates that not only fulfil the standard requirements, but also ensure recognition by state authorities.

For example, state benefits or tax refunds, such as the Special Compensation Scheme (BesAR) under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and the successor regulation to the Peak Compensation Scheme under the SpaEfV for manufacturing companies (e.g. bakery chains with their own production) are linked to the operation of a systematic EnMS according to ISO 50001, EMAS or (for SMEs) to an Alternative System. Our certification is worth your money.

Offer of the GUTcert Academy

Seminars on the topic of energy management

Climate neutrality is one of the most challenging goals of the German economy. The food trade has an enormous influence on the success of this task. Even if its own impact on the environment and climate is rather low, it is very high in the upstream value chain. The consumption of water and land is particularly intensive in the extraction and production of raw materials. The figure shows that more than half of the greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions occur in the production of raw materials. Emissions from direct suppliers are also relevant, accounting for around one third. Many retailers already impose environmental requirements on their own suppliers.

If own greenhouse balances are drawn up as a basis for a climate strategy, the Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF) fits as a management tool to work out the focus of future goals and measures. Own cold stores, logistics centres and the vehicle fleet are usually part of this. As an accredited testing body, we support you by verifying the carbon footprint of your company.

The Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) is a credible proof of the climate neutrality of individual products: For the food trade, it is particularly relevant for private labels. The product life cycle is considered from production to sale to the retailer or end consumer (cradle-to-gate) or to disposal (cradle-to-grave).

Does your company want to use the PCF in brand communication? The quality of the data, the reliability and transparency of the methodology are decisive for a critical public - especially because indirect emissions are also determined here. With a verification of your PCF, you receive the necessary security for your communication through reliable data.

More information is also available at

Offer of the GUTcert Academy

Seminars on the topic of climate management

Attention: Food retailers and logistics centres that are considered operators of critical infrastructures (KRITIS) are obliged under the IT Security Act (§8a (3) BSIG) to have their internal security guidelines audited.

ISO/IEC 27001 is a target-oriented instrument for this and also helps to meet industry standards.


Offer of the GUTcert Academy

Seminare zum Thema Informationssicherheit

Writing a sustainability report helps companies to present their efforts to the public and to ensure their profitability. There is also a reporting obligation for listed companies (CSR-RUG).

The EcoVadis platform carries out one of the most important sustainability rankings of companies in Germany. When selecting suppliers, a validated sustainability report not only offers companies advantages in the ranking, but also ensures your participation in tenders and the awarding of contracts.

The validation of your sustainability report can be carried out according to the German Sustainability Code (DNK) or the globally recognised standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).


Offer of the GUTcert Academy

Seminars on sustainability - courses on corporate responsibility and CR reporting

Our experts on site

Our qualified auditors have years of industry experience and speak your language!

GUTcert networks

Logo of the German Business Initiative for Energy Efficiency

The German Business Initiative for Energy Efficiency e.V. (DENEFF) is an independent cross-sector network of companies that advocate for an ambitious and effective energy efficiency policy.

Alliance for Cyber Security logo

Business processes in logistics are becoming increasingly digitalised and automated. The security of information technology is thus part of the operational risks in the transport of goods. As a member of the Alliance for Cyber Security, GUTcert wants to make an active contribution to protecting organisations from cyber attacks and loss of operational capability.

Selected publications

The path to climate neutrality poses specific challenges for all sectors. The food industry and trade in particular are dealing with the issue of greenhouse gas accounting and climate neutrality more and more aggressively: In the B2B sector, it is playing an increasingly important role in the awarding of contracts; in the B2C sector, too, it can influence the corporate image, sales figures and thus market shares.

Be smart: Benefit from the experience of our customers and concentrated GUTcert knowledge in white papers, presentations and guides on various topics.

Guide from energy management to climate management

Guide from energy management to climate management

Do you already have an energy management system according to ISO 50001? Then you don't have far to go to climate management: our guide shows you how to do this in a structured way - over 5 steps in 14 steps.

Which certifications are particularly relevant for the food trade?