In Spain, the foodstuffs and drinks companies – accounting for the 17% of the total industrial production – bring 12% of the added value and employ about 14% of the industrial employment (430,275 people). Its 32,586 companies account for 8.15% of the Spanish GDP (source: FIAB), and consequently, those figures locate it as the first industry of the country in economic terms.

As part of the Spanish foodstuffs industry, the meat sector makes up a strategic sector of the first order as is shown by the fact that the spendings in foodstuffs reached 69,409 million euros in Spain in 2003, 22% of which cooresponded to meat and its by-products, well over sectors such as fishing (14%) or fresh fruit and dairy products (7%). Furthermore, the meat sector is one of the foodstuffs subsectors which experienced a major turnover increase in the last years, together with other subsectors such as fish transformation, canned fruit and vegetable, wines, other alcoholic drinks, water and alcoholfree drinks (source: MAYPA). A proof of the dynamism of the meat sector is the value of its exports above all of products of a high added value. In 2003, it ended up as being the second in exports (1,611 million euros), only behind the sector of alcoholic drinks (2,081 million euros) (Source MAYPA). br> The capacity of production of the meat products, that is to say the settled capacity of our companies, is around 3 million tons/year, and the real use just reaches 38%, that is 1,190,698 tons in 2003. That difference indicates a current capacity of the sector to increase the production, provided it manages to improve the export of its products. We also have to highlight that Spain is the second pork meat producer of the European Union, only a little behind Germany, with a census of 24,894,956 pigs.

In Europe, the foodstuffs industry is the second most important one, after the chemical industry and before the machinary and equipment industry. It accounts for 13.6% of the European industrial production, although in some European countries like Denmark, it reaches 20% of its production (Eurostat). Also in Europe, the meat sector is the main foodstuffs subsector. According to the European office of statistics (Eurostat), the meat sector accounts for 17.7% of the European foodstuffs Industry. With a total sales value in the European foodstuffs industry of 720 billion euros, the meat subsector alone represents 20.5% of the total foodstuff industry, the second one in added value and the first one in people employed and in number of companies (Source: CIAA).

Instituto de Recerca I Tecnologia Agroalimentaria (IRTA)

Granja Camps i Armet s/n, 17121 Monells (Girona)
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