We interview Mauricio García de Quevedo, President of the European Breakfast Cereal Association (CEEREAL).
Wiki Spanish Food.- You were recently appointed president of the association. What does this post mean to you and what goals have been established at EU-level for the coming years?
Mauricio García de Quevedo.- At CEEREAL, we promote and defend the specific interests of breakfast cereal producers in Europe. We work with consumer associations, underlining the importance of a good breakfast and the role of cereal as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. We also we collaborate with the authorities to create a positive, balanced regulatory environment that drives sustainable growth, supporting innovation in the breakfast cereal industry in the EU. We do this in cooperation with the various national associations.
W.S.F.- What activities is the European association implementing and what specific actions would you like to roll out during your term?
M.G.Q.- At CEEREAL, we closely monitor and contribute ideas in connection with regulatory issues that affect the breakfast cereal industry, such as food security, quality, health and nutrition, sustainable growth, and information for consumers on cereal-based breakfast foods.
CEEREAL is also a member of FoodDrinkEurope, with which we collaborate on the development of an even broader range of European policies which affect the food industry in general, and the cereal market in particular.
W.S.F.- Europe and Spain face similar economic situations. How has the industry performed in Europe in recent years?
M.G.Q.- The industry offers consumers high-quality, affordable products. The product range is so diverse that consumers can choose those items which best adapt to their lifestyle.
W.S.F.- What are the main challenges and opportunities in the sector? How will you address them?
M.G.Q.- The association's primary goals are for consumers to be better informed about the benefits of breakfast cereals and to provide them with the best products with a view to meeting their expectations.
W.S.F.- Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. What is the association doing to promote it in different countries?
M.G.Q.- Our activities include Breakfast Week in the European Parliament. It's part of CEEREAL's commitment to maintain stakeholders in Europe informed about the importance of healthy breakfast habits and about the ongoing contribution to nutrition and health by the breakfast cereal industries.
Breakfast Week was first organized in 2005. In the last few years, this event has helped raise awareness among European Union politicians about the importance of a good breakfast and cereal as part of the daily diet.
W.S.F.- Innovation is key for all agri-food sectors. How does CEEREAL view this issue? Is there specific data which reflects European and Spanish companies' commitment to innovation?
M.G.Q.- Innovation is vital for our sector. One of CEEREAL's objectives is to ensure that the regulatory framework allows our members to continue to innovate.
W.S.F.- As president of the association, how has the cereal sector performed in Spain in the last three years?
M.G.Q.- Breakfast cereals were introduced into Spaniards' diets more than 30 years ago, during which time we have seen the segment expand and develop. The industry is currently experiencing moderate growth.
W.S.F.- According to the Spanish association's website, the cereal sector is responsible. What actions are being implemented in this area?
M.G.Q.- The sector is working to innovate constantly on our production and formulation processes, optimizing the nutritional value of our products in a sustainable way. We have a strong commitment to consumers. We offer products adapted to their needs and demands, and we contribute to a better understanding of the role of breakfast cereals in the context of food and the importance of breakfast as part of a balanced diet.
W.S.F.- How is the association promoting healthy breakfast habits?
M.G.Q.- One of our main objectives is to inform consumers and to ensure that they know about good eating habits, especially for breakfast, through a range of actions. One example is the association's own website, and we also organize conferences to inform about our products and production processes. Additionally, the book Breakfast Cereals. Nutrition and Gastronomy was written by nutrition and public health professionals to provide up-to-date, accurate information about the role of breakfast cereals in a balanced diet, as well as the benefits of a good breakfast. The goal is to promote consumption of cereals for breakfast, as well as at other times of day (mid-morning, as a snack, and for dinner).