Region/Countries: Europe, Spain Industry: Food and Beverage, Manufacturing Date: March 2019

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can help meet the demand for food processing machinery and food imports.

As the leading industrial sector in Spain, food and beverage production in 2017 exceeded the €100 billion ($115 billion) mark. It also achieved a surplus in foreign trade in 2018, marking the eighth consecutive year of growth for this key industry. The industry is increasingly investing in digitization, energy and process efficiency.

Increasing consumption outside the home and booming tourism favor the Spanish food and beverage industry, which is the most important manufacturing industry in the country (21% of total production)—and along with that comes a boost to food imports into the Spanish market. The local food and beverage industry generated around $115 billion in 2017. This sales record was accompanied by a new peak in exports of $34.5 billion (up 8.6% from previous year). The domestic market is also developing positively. Food imports recorded the highest increase since 2008, up 7.0% to reach a record level of $23 billion.

Food processing ended 2017 as the strongest-performing Spanish manufacturing sector. It ranks fourth in terms of production in the EU.

Due to this development, Spanish companies are also expanding, modernizing and making their production more sustainable. One key trend is the increase in efficiency in steering, processes and energy. The Galician brewery Estrella Galicia plans to invest around $170 million in doubling its capacity (to 400 million liters). Moreover, vegetable frozen food producer Fruveco is planning a new $90 million plant in Murcia. Dairy producer Lácteos Industriales Agrupados (Liasa), which specializes in the Horeca (hotel/restaurant/café), intends to establish an $80 million dairy plant with a partner near A Coruña. Embutidos Rodríguez plans to invest $25 million in rebuilding its sausage production hall after a fire. The deep-frozen seafood supplier Apolo is investing about $10 million in new production lines. These are just a few of the many investments that are occurring in the Spanish food and beverage sector.

The main food products imported to Spain in 2016 were mollusks ($1.7 billion), crustaceans ($1.5 billion), wheat ($1.3 billion), soybeans ($1.3 billion), corn ($1.2 billion), refrigerated or fresh fish ($1.2 billion), fresh nuts or dried fruits ($1.1 billion) and palm oil ($1.05 billion). However, other foods—such as oil, meat, fresh fish, fresh shellfish and mollusks, fresh vegetables, and staple foods such as sugar or bread—experienced a decrease in consumption during the same period.

The Spanish food and beverage market, growing stronger as the Spanish economy recovers from the past recession, offers interesting export and investment opportunities for companies in this sector. Visiting trade fairs can provide prime opportunities to get to know the market and meet potential partners. Trade fairs for this industry include Alimentaria, the benchmark in terms of innovation, trends and internationalization of the food sector, where professionals from the food, beverages and gastronomy sector come together—which will take place in Barcelona April 20-23, 2020 (; Fruit Attraction, the key event for the fruit and vegetable sector, taking place Oct. 22-24, 2019, in Madrid (; and Gastrónoma, held Nov. 10-19, 2019, in Valencia, bringing together wineries, manufacturers, machinery and equipment firms, agri-food industry professionals, service companies and distributors, among others—all from the gourmet and high-end food sectors (