Agri-Food Industry

A strong, resilient industry

With revenue of over €129 bn (2.7% of GDP) and employing around 500,000 people, the Spanish agri-food industry is the country's main manufacturing activity.

Spain is the fourth agri-food power in Europe and tenth in the world. Due to the quality of its products and its extensive range of items, the Spanish agri-food industry is highly regarded internationally.

During the pandemic, the Spanish food industry proved its resilience and maintained a continuous supply both inside and outside the country. Its efficient logistics and infrastructure systems prevented supply chains from breaking down, and it even increased exports.

The dynamic nature of Spanish agri-food exports, showing twelve continuous years of surplus, and representing almost 20% of the country's total exports, have made the industry the fourth-ranked European exporter and the seventh worldwide in these products. 

More than 30,000 companies in the industry currently export food and drink from Spain, with internationalisation being one of the main pillars of its strong position and growth.

In the case of Spain, the food and drink/tourism/cuisine link guarantees a high level of consumption and promotes the country brand, where agri-food produce has become an essential part of the country's culture and traditions.

Alongside this tradition, the industry is undergoing a disruptive and decisive transformation towards digitalisation and sustainability to face new challenges in the form of climate change and adapting to new consumer trends. Spanish Technology Centres are world leaders in specific areas ranging from developing new ingredients to new high-quality protein sources, enhancing nutritional properties and precision agriculture. In recent years, Spain has become one of the few "foodtech" nations, developing an enterprising ecosystem across the entire agri-food value chain.

Margarita González

Project Manager

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Why invest

in Spain’s
agri-food industry?

Agri-food is a key industry in the Spanish economy. It is strong and resilient and is the country's top-ranked industry.

Characteristic

Sound business structure

Spain boasts more than 30,000 agri-food companies, including entrepreneurs and multinationals, and covering the entire value chain.

Characteristic

Access to an abundance of high-quality raw materials

Spain ranks second in the European Union in terms of arable land area, and its agricultural production is extensive and diverse. Spain is a leader in organic farming.

Characteristic

International competitiveness

Spain is the fourth largest exporter of agri-food products in the European Union. Despite the heavy impact of the pandemic on international trade, Spanish agri-food exports increased in 2020.

Characteristic

Innovation

Spain has a large innovation ecosystem with more than 20 cutting-edge technology centres, 50 specialist universities and business associations, science parks, incubators and accelerators and start-ups.

Characteristic

Workforce

An industry that employs almost 430,000 people. An industry with skilled labour available and competitive labour costs.

Characteristic

Connectivity

An unbeatable network of infrastructure and logistics that is among the most competitive in the world. More than 17,000 km of motorways, 50 airports and 46 ports.

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

Characteristic

Digital transformation

The industry focuses on a more efficient and sustainable agri-food system across the whole value chain, backed by government, regional and European bodies.

What are the best
investment opportunities?

Organic products

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Agritech

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Foodtech

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Spain ranks first in the European Union in terms of land area used for organic farming (2.4 million hectares), according to Eurostat data, and is third in the world. 

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Andalusia, Castilla La Mancha and Catalonia are the regions with the highest number of organic farms.

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Consumption of organic produce is starting to take off in Spain. Up 17% in the last year, the market value for organic produce is estimated at €2.13 bn. 

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Per capita consumption has risen to €50/inhabitant, pushing the country up into the top 10 in the world.

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The share of animal-based foods in industrial organic production is lower than plant-based foods, and is the area with the most opportunities.

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It is estimated that there are about 50,000 people involved in this market segment, including farmers, manufacturers and retailers. 

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As for distribution, the major chains in the Spanish market have already entered this segment and represent 40% of the total share. 

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The competent authorities (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) promote organic production as a priority industry, following the European Green Deal strategy. 

Europe /Organic Farming Area

Europe

16.,5

Million ha

Half of Europe's organic farmland is in 4 countries.

Spain

2.4

Million ha

The country with the largest area of organic farmland is in Spain, followed by France and Italy.

3.3%

of Europe’s farmland is organic (EU 8.1%)

Twelve countries have 10% or more of their agricultural land under organic management.

+65%

in the decade 2010-2019 (EU +61%)
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From 2018 to 2019 the organic agricultural land grew by 0.9 Million hectares (+5.9%).

Fuente: FiBL-AMI survey 2021. www.organic-world.net

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Spain is one of the countries with the highest proportion of agricultural GDP in the European Union, with 2.7%.

After France, it is the European country with the largest agricultural land area (13.3% of the total) and the fourth in terms of number of farms (8.9% of total).

By region, Andalusia, Castilla León and Castilla La Mancha lead the way in terms of agricultural production value. The main crops, in this order, are cereals (barley, wheat and corn), olives for mills, vines, sunflowers for industrial use, tree fruits and nuts (almonds, oranges and mandarins mainly) and vegetables.

The global challenge of producing more food sustainably is also present in the Spanish agricultural industry. The high levels of digitalisation and technology that are increasingly required in this industry to increase productivity, improve efficiency and adapt production represent a great opportunity for investment.

An important ecosystem is being built in Spain around agricultural innovation. From multinational companies to start-ups and SMEs, multiple solutions are being developed to promote a highly efficient and sustainable agri-food system. These include:

·         Green biotechnology: soil regeneration, seed optimisation, etc.

·         Automated crop systems: Software and hardware for agriculture.

·         Robotics applied to agriculture.

·         Water management and new cultivation systems: Vertical farming, indoor farming, hydroponics and aquaponics, among others. 

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Boosted by this important industry, in recent years Spain has become one of the few "foodtech" nations worldwide with innovations that cover the entire agri-food value chain.

Spanish Technology Centres are world leaders in specific areas ranging from developing new ingredients, enhancing nutritional properties, using new conservation technology, industrial process scale-up of more innovative solutions and reducing the impact of packaging. Incubators and accelerators play a key role in this development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem

Some of the innovations taking place are:

·         New food sources: plant-based, fermentation, biosynthesis and insects.

·         New products: made with new ingredients.

·         Technology used to improve production processes, packaging and traceability

·         Food safety

·         Circular economy

·         Robotics and data analysis platforms.

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Leading regions
for the agri-food industry

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%

Success stories

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Agenda

Smart Agrifood Summit

ICEX-Invest in Spain will participate  in the event Smart Agrifood Summit that will be held in the city of Málaga (Spain) from 29th September to 1st of October. 

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FOODTECH MATTERS – UK 2021

ICEX–Invest in Spain and the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in London are organizing a delegation of Spanish companies to take part in the Food Tech Matters event that will take place virtually on 29 and 30 November. 

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