Daniel de Miguel, INTERPORC: Spain exported a total of 2.75 million tons of pork meat in 2023

The pig industry is vital for Spain's economy, being the most important livestock sector in the country and the largest producer in the European Union. More about production, international markets, animal welfare and sustainability in the Spanish pig industry you will find in this exclusive interview with Mr. Daniel de Miguel, Deputy Director and International Director of INTERPORC.

Posted on Jun 06 ,00:15

Daniel de Miguel, INTERPORC: Spain exported a total of 2.75 million tons of pork meat in 2023

EMN: Where does the Spanish pig sector position itself in the European market?

Spain has been the largest pork producer in the European Union for several years. In 2023, Spain produced 4.85 million tons, above Germany (4.22 million tons) and France (2.07 million tons).

EMN: What is the importance of the Spanish pig sector in Spain economy?

The pig sector is vital for Spain's economy and accounts for 9.5% of industrial GDP.

It is the most important livestock sector in our country, and represents 40.7% of final livestock production, and 15.8% of final agricultural production.

It generates 415,000 jobs, which represents 2.3% of total employment in Spain, 10% of employment in the Spanish primary sector, and 11.2% of agri-food employment.

EMN: How is the Spanish market at this time? Do you foresee growth in sales for the next months? How about the Central and East European (CEE) market?

If we observe a long sequence of several years, the tendency to reduce meat consumption is a constant in Western countries, although in Spain, pork is the one that shows the smallest decrease.

In fact, consumption of fresh and frozen meat in Spanish households grew in 2023, going from 402,500 to 420,200 tons. It is true that the consumption of processed products slightly fell, from 393,200 to 387,400 tons, but, in global figures, household consumption of fresh meat and processed products went from 795,700 tons to 807,600.

As we pointed out previously, the circumstances of international markets are changing and sometimes generate uncertainty, but the establishment of Spanish pork in European markets allows any change to be faced with guarantees.

In relation to the CEE market, Romania is the 9th most important destination market with 112,985 tons, Bulgaria is the 13th with 58,554 tons and Hungary is the 14th with 54,417 tons.

EMN: How much pork did Spain produce in the last year and how are the volumes compared to previous years?

In the last year, Spain produced 4.85 million tons of pork. This is a slightly lower figure compared to 2022, when the volume produced was 5.02 million tons.

EMN: How much pork did Spain export in the last year and what are the main export destinations?

In 2023, Spain exported a total of 2.75 million tons of fresh meat and processed pork products. The main destinations were China (560,488 t), France (295,671 t), Italy (273,007 t), Japan (176,621 t) and the Philippines (144,891 t).

EMN: Where do you see opportunities to open new markets or expand the ones existing already? To what extent the ASF situation in Europe has disrupted trade whith partners from third countries?

The diversification of Spanish pork exports offers opportunities both to strengthen the presence in important Asian markets and to explore emerging markets in Africa and Latin America.

It is evident that the ASF situation has disrupted international trade, but Spain is a country free of this disease and a leader in food safety and traceability, so its products provide all the guarantees.

EMN: Spanish pork sector is a leader regarding animal welfare through all white pig food chain. How did the industry reach this high level of certification (IAWS) and what are the following steps for developing this project?

The Spanish pig industry is totally committed to animal welfare. For this reason, it not only works with the European production system, the most demanding regulations in the world, but has developed its own certification.

Its B+ Animal Welfare Commitment seal has the Technical Regulation INTERPORC Animal Welfare Spain (IAWS) that requires even stricter standards than those required by Spanish and European legislation, which has placed Spain's white pork sector at the global forefront in animal welfare.

EMN: What consumption trends have you noticed so far and how are they shaping the meat industry?

Consumer trends show a growing interest in sustainable, ethically produced products that are healthy and nutritious. In this sense, the Spanish pork industry has responded and even anticipated demands and has decidedly opted for triple economic, social and environmental sustainability.

This translates into the production of healthier foods (with less salt), maximum respect for animal welfare and the environment, commitment to clean energy, biosecurity of the facilities and total transparency in both traceability and labeling to properly inform the consumer.

EMN: What is INTERPORC's strategy in promoting meat consumption?

INTERPORC's strategy focuses on promoting pork as a healthy and sustainable option, using marketing campaigns that highlight the quality and ethical production practices of Spanish pork, both in national and international markets.

In order to do this, INTERPORC always reports with scientific arguments and official data from public administrations about production, emissions into the atmosphere, consumption, etc.

EMN: What are the obstacles that pig producers must surpass in the short-term and how is INTERPORC address to this topics of interest?

Major obstacles include fluctuations in production and raw material costs, stricter environmental regulations, and the need to adapt to changing consumer demands. INTERPORC addresses these issues through continuous training, support in the implementation of new technologies and sustainable practices, and defense of the interests of the sector before public administrations.

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