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Sustained innovation and growth

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

The main meat product companies in Spain view as positive the 2014 sales performance, which reflects an increase with respect to 2013. In the first few months of 2015, this upward trend continued and is creating positive expectations for the year as a whole.

That's the situation for Cárnicas Tello, for example, which expects growth of 7% in 2015, while ElPozo Alimentación and Espuña expect growth for 2015 to be in line with last year, at 9.1% and 7%, respectively. For Campofrío, which saw sales expand by 1.1% in 2014, the goal this year is to maintain that positive trend, increasing sales and revenues "to maintain our leading position", says the company.

According to ElPozo Alimentación, "The good export performance, brand positioning and innovation in high added-value products are the main factors driving our positive results". Cárnicas Tello also recognizes that "the consumption of better-quality products is on the rise"; for Espuña, growth in 2015 is based on "the search for new markets with high purchasing power and which are demanding in terms of quality".

Sales in various channels

The decline in sales in meat products in the traditional channel is being offset by growth in modern distribution. Nevertheless, Cárnicas Tello, ElPozo and Argal maintain there is sustained growth in both channels. According to Argal, growth is attributable to "product innovation" in modern distribution and to the "clear focus on personalized customer service and attention" in the specialist channel. Campofrío and Espuña view the situation as positive due to growth obtained in modern distribution, which offsets the stagnation and even the loss in establishments in the traditional channel.

In line with the increase in modern distribution channels, self-service products are registering a better performance. "While the meat sector is performing flat, self-service meat products expanded by 2% in 2014", says ElPozo, which has reinforced its BienStar, All Natural and Extratiernos lines, while also launching a new line called Extrafinas.

However, Argal noted a change in trend in 2014: "There are consumers who continue to prefer buying meat which is cut on the spot at the butcher's". Over the course of 2014, Argal focused on launching Bonnatur and Bocaditos Argal Oliving, the first cooked ham and turkey breast snack that doesn't require refrigeration.

Cárnicas Tello highlights convenience as an important characteristic of new formats. Products launched in 2014 include turkey sausages, Toledo-style sausage, Diamante York ham, and canned cooked turkey ham, all of which have been very popular with consumers.

In terms of product type, Campofrío underlines the favorable performance of chicken and turkey products, especially those that are braised, and charcuterie such as fuet (a thin Catalan sausage), which has the greatest number of new buyers.

Espuña, for which packaged self-service products account for 66% of its sales volume, expanded its Cañitas range with four new flavors (BBQ, spicy chorizo, curry chicken and roast chicken), a line of products which was named Product of the Year in 2012 and received the PITA award for snacks in 2014 from the Catalonian government.

Innovation and foreign markets, vital for progress

All of the companies agree that innovation is fundamental for knowing how to adapt to the needs and demands of consumers and is a driver of future growth. Argal launched its line of Bonnatur sliced deli meats ("as if they were freshly sliced"), an example of successful innovation based on quality and transparency. Espuña focuses especially on offering quality, allergen-free products with a view to meeting the needs of different types of customers.

The foreign market is a strategic channel for Spanish companies, and accounts for 20% of sales in the case of Argal and Cárnicas Tello, and 50% in the case of Campofrío Group and Espuña. Moreover, international markets are also part of those companies' plans for expansion as they offer greater opportunities for growth than Spain, according to Argal.

Stable, optimistic outlook

Producer companies believe the meat product sector is stable in general, and they maintain optimistic, albeit moderate, expectations in terms of future sales growth. "The Spanish meat sector is very mature and, therefore, its annual performance is not spectacular, according to ElPozo Alimentación.

Argal says that the sector "did not suffer notably during the economic crisis". However, Espuña suggests that it's a difficult moment to compete in the market: "The consumer focuses on price, which makes our products into commodities, minimizing the importance of their quality and innovation".

The main meat producers in Spain remain focused on innovation to meet consumer demands, giving priority to comfort, price and healthier products.

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28/06/2017