The president of Alimentaria’s organising committee Josep Bonet said Spain should “tap into non-EU markets” such as China, India, Mexico and Taiwan, at a press conference at modernist building La Pedrera, designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, last week.
Spain is the fourth-biggest producer of meat in Europe, according to the National Meat Processing Industries Association of Spain (ANICE). But Bonet believes the industry should look beyond the EU and said Alimentaria could help the meat sector unlock new markets.
“It can help meat producers develop new business opportunities and also provide them with new commercial contacts,” he added.
“Over the course of Alimentaria, there will be more than 12,000 commercial interviews. These will help to generate revenue and benefit the meat industry in Spain by providing businesses with the first step to start their export activity and open new markets in other countries.”
Top importers of Spanish meat
France – €49.94m
Italy – €24.58m
Portugal – €9.73m
China – €7.24m
UK – €6.36m
Exports growing quickly
The decision to hold the press conference at La Pedrera was also “no coincidence”, he added.
Bonet said there were similarities between Gaudi – whom he described as a “genius of modern art” – and Spain’s meat industry. Both “go beyond the standard levels of what can be considered normal”, he said.
With a turnover of €22.1bn ($24bn), the meat industry is Spain’s fourth-biggest industrial sector – behind only the motor industry, oil and electricity. And with Spain’s economic recovery well under way after the bailout in 2012, exports are growing quickly.
In 2014, meat exports generated €4.2bn ($4.56bn), in contrast to imports which amounted to just €1.3bn ($1.41bn), according to Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
‘Build bridges to new markets’
The most popular meat products Spain exports are cured pork items, such as jamon iberico, serrano ham and chorizo. Cured ham exports rose by 14.5%, with a total value of €288m ($312m), between January and September of 2015, according to the Spanish government.
But out of the top five importers of Spanish meat, only one – China – came from outside the EU.
Intercarn, Alimentaria’s trade show dedicated to meat, is expected to welcome buyers from over 65 countries and this may help “build bridges towards new markets”, said Bonet.
The meat area of Alimentaria is expected to welcome 550 companies, a 29% increase from the last event two years ago.
“Intercarn’s intention is to consolidate and expand the road to internationalisation that we have promoted at previous editions [of Alimentaria],” said Juan Guibelalde, president of Intercarn and CEO of Campofrio Group.
“We have always opened up new marketing routes abroad, with the aim to bring together the best of the industry’s supply and demand sectors and provide the best possible business opportunities for international and Spanish firms, the latter of whose role as exporters is increasingly important,” he added.