Institute of

Market Analysis


Birgit Prietzsch
Institute of Market Analysis

Bundesallee 50
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5302
Fax: +49 531 596 5399


We explain agricultural markets

The agricultural market is subject to state intervention. In principle, however, it follows the same pattern as every other market: supply and demand determine price and vice versa. Does this lead to the desired results?

Many people doubt this and believe, "When agricultural prices soar, as was the case in 2007, more people will starve somewhere on earth." "When agricultural prices are sliding, as in prior decades, farmers become impoverished and abandon their farms." Neither should we forget those consumers who are happy to snap up the "cheap offers" at the meat counter nor other consumers concerned about the fact that meat does not come from "happy" animals.

We introduce clarity into this tangle of diverse opinions. To be able to properly advise policymakers, industry and society, we – at the Thünen Institute of Market Analysis - look at both sides: Firstly, we analyse market functionalities and estimate future economic data as accurately as possible. This helps all stakeholders to position themselves early on and implement necessary adjustments. Secondly, we examine wishes, needs and behaviour of consumers at home and abroad. Our work lays the scientific foundations for more targeted design of policies.

For our schedule is therefore driven by leads the following main questions:

  • Market monitoring and analysis: What do market relationships actually look like?
  • Opinion and behaviour analysis: What do people expect of food, production processes and food markets and how is their behaviour on markets?
  • Projection: How might our agricultural and food markets develop?
  • Impact assessments: What would be the impact of changes in the political, climatic or economic framework conditions on agricultural markets? What consequences would they have?
  • Development and assessment of policy options: What framework conditions should policymakers put in place to ensure that the markets most efficiently serve social wellbeing?

First of all our toolbox encompasses classical market analysis. We analyse how organisation, production, consumption, stocks, trade and prices develop for individual branches along the value chain but also for the agricultural sector as a whole. From this we derive estimates of competitiveness and global food security; often in association with other Thünen Institutes. Our most recent research area is consumer and society research. For this area we have, up to now, mainly used focus groups and surveys. Finally, we also need models, for reliable quantitative assessments of future market development. These models demonstrate the diverse interactions between the markets. We develop these models in international co-operation and link them with the farm and regional models in the Thünen model network.

Fields of Activity

 (©  Quelle:  / Copyright BLE)
Analysis of the Agricultural and Food Sector
How do agricultural markets work? How competitive is our agri-food economy in global competition? And how can policies take influence? With these questions we deal in the work area "Analysis of the agricultural and food sector".
 (©  Thünen-Institut / Marktanalyse)
International agricultural trade – Food security
Today compared with 1960, three times the amount of agricultural products is produced but six times traded worldwide. What's driving this trend? What is the contribution of international agricultural trade for food security both globally and regionally?
 (©  BLE, Bonn / Thomas Stephan)
Consumer Research
„Pesticides in vegetables, antibiotics in animal husbandry – modern agriculture is only about quick profit!“ Many people completely reject modern production systems but do not reflect on the impact of their own consumption habits on exactly the same production methods. Instead, they call for stricter production requirements. How is industry and how are policymakers supposed to deal with this?
 (©  Thünen-Institut / Marktanalyse)
Model-based Policy Impact Assessment
International developments and policy decisions affect supply, demand, trade and prices of agricultural commodities. In the work area, "Model-based Policy Impact Assessment" we identify consequences of possible future policy changes using economic models. Our results serve as a basis to support policy decision-making processes.



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