Agri-Food Industry

A growing, dynamic and innovative industry

With over 119 billion euros in turnover (2% of GDP) and a labor force of nearly 500,000 people, agri-food is the main activity in Spain’s manufacturing industry.

Spain is the fourth agri-food power in Europe in turnover, after France, Germany and Italy, accounting for 9% of the European agri-food industry value added.

By sub-sector, meat with 26%, leads the food industry in Spain, followed by the beverage, fats and oils, and fruit and vegetable processing sectors

In Spain, the consumption of agri-food products per capita has increased significantly in the last year, returning to 2015 figures and amounting to 1.5 billion euros per year. Spanish consumers tend to buy fresh products like meat, fruit and vegetables and fish. Dairy products are also bought regularly. 76% of purchases are made at superstores, supermarkets or discount stores. The online channel (even at 1.2% of the total) is experiencing substantial growth.

The agri-food industry shows tremendous dynamism at the international level with 11 years of trade surplus, more than 31,000 companies and over 30 billion euros in exports.

The Spanish food industry’s very notable entry into the international market accounts for 9.3% of total EU-28 exports. France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the UK, the United States and China are among the 10 countries that consume Spanish food the most.

Finally, tourism and gastronomy are very important to the industry. Spain is a tourism powerhouse that attracts more than 83 million visitors who, along with national consumers, result in 253,444 food and beverage establishments.

Spanish gastronomy, thanks to innovation, is internationally renowned, a fact that is evidenced by Spain having more restaurants among the top 50 worldwide, than any other country.  

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Margarita González

Project Manager

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Why invest

in Spain’s
agri-food industry?

The industry plays a crucial role in the Spanish economy and is the main activity in the country’s manufacturing industry.

Characteristic

Strong business structure

The development of the Spanish food and beverage industry has been more pronounced, as regards Spain, than the European average. 

Characteristic

Access to an abundance of excellent raw materials

Spain ranks second in area devoted to farming, and agricultural production is abundant and diverse. Spain leads Europe in organic food production.

Characteristic

A large market

Along with the ample amount of food products consumed in Spain, and reinforced by tourism, is the European market.  Spain is the fourth largest exporter of agri-food products in the European Union, behind the Netherlands, Germany and France.

Characteristic

Innovation

Spain has outstanding universities, technology parks and technology centers with industry expertise.

Characteristic

Ease in hiring workers

Availability of skilled labor and competitive labor costs

Characteristic

Privileged strategic location

With modern infrastructures, Spain is the gateway to Europe, North Africa and Latin America. 

Characteristic

Institutional support

The Spanish government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has developed the Program for Sustainability in the Agri-food Industry.

Characteristic

Regional aid and incentives

As a key industry for the Spanish Economy, the agrifood sector benefits from ample aid and incentives at the regional, state and European level.

What are the best
investment opportunities?

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Organic products

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Agritech

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According to Eurostat data, Spain is the leading country in the European Union in area devoted to organic farming (2.1 million hectares), and the fifth largest producer in the world. 

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The area in Spain devoted to organic farming has increased by 14.9% in recent years.

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In organic industry structure, there are more opportunities in the production of foods of animal origin, which is less developed, than in food products of plant origin. 

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There are estimated to be more than 41,000 agents in the market involved in this subsector, including farmers, industries and vendors.

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The consumption of organic products in Spain is taking off. With a nearly 13% increase in the last year, Spain now ranks tenth in the world and seventh in Europe in consumption of organic food and beverages.

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At the distribution level, major chains in Spain have already entered this segment, and account for 40% of the total. 

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The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is promoting the organic farming industry as a priority.

Europe/Organic Farming Area

Source: Fibl 2019. www.organic-world.net

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Spain is the country with the largest proportion of GDP from agriculture (2.7%) in the European Union.

After France, it is the European country with the largest agricultural area (13.3% of the total) and the fourth in number of farms (8.9% of the total). It employs 750,000 people (4% of the country's employment)

By región, the three most important autonomous communities in value of agricultural production are Andalusia, Castile-Leon and Castile-La Mancha. The main agricultural products are cereals (barley, wheat and corn), olive groves for mills, vineyards, sunflowers for industrial use, fruit trees (mainly almond, orange and tangerine) and vegetables, in that order.

The global challenge to produce more food in a sustainable way also exists in Spain’s agricultural industry. The large amount of digital modernization regularly

needed in the industry to increase productivity, improve efficiency and adapt production, is a great investment opportunity. 

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Leading regions
for the agri-food industry

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Main food-producing regions

 

By turnover

Mapa sectors regions
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Icon Sales Sales: 2,7%

Find out more about Extremadura Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 8,2%

Find out more about Valencia Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 5,3%

Find out more about Murcia Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 0,5%

Find out more about Balearic Islands Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 1,8%

Find out more about La Rioja Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 1,7%

Find out more about Asturias Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 1,2%

Find out more about Canary Islands Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 1,3%

Find out more about Cantabria Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 7,5%

Find out more about Galicia Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 15,3%

Find out more about Andalusia Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 3,9%

Find out more about Aragon Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 8,5%

Find out more about Castille and Leon Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 6,9%

Find out more about Castilla-La Mancha Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 4,8%

Find out more about Madrid Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 3,5%

Find out more about Basque Country Arrow icon
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Icon Sales Sales: 23,7%

Find out more about Catalonia Arrow icon
>20
10%-20%
5%-10%
<5%
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How to set up a company in Spain?

ICEX-Invest in Spain participates in the webinar ‘How to set up a company in Spain?’, organized by AGM Avocats, which will offer tips on the main legal aspects for foreign investors interested in setting up a company in Spain. 

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