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"We are the leading national association for Spain's meat industry"

Wikispanishdfood editorial team

The meat sector is the fourth-largest industrial sector in Spain and comprises 3,000 SMEs. It is a leader within Spain's food and beverage industry, with revenues of 22.168 billion euros, accounting for 21.6% of Spain's food sector total. How do you organize such an enormous sector? We find out from the Secretary of the National Meat Processing Industries Association of Spain (ANICE), Miguel Huerta.

Question.- How is Spain's meat industry representation structured?

Answer.- At national level, ANICE represents the entire meat industry in Spain. We are the leading national association for Spain's meat industry in terms of size, with more than 600 member companies; in terms of geography, as we are present in every region of Spain; and in terms of production volume, as our members have sales of almost 18 billion euros, i.e. 80% of the meat industry's sales.

Q.- The meat sector is dynamic and needs active organizations to represent it. What role does ANICE play in this regard?

A.- ANICE plays two roles. First, it represents and defends the interests of the meat industry vis-à-vis the public administrations, institutions and other entities and organizations.

Second, it provides members with advice and support, responds to queries and questions, and provides counsel on strategic issues.

To gauge the situation and enable companies to be leaders, the Association has several working groups, focused on both business representation as well as specialized technical issues, which structure representation of the various groups, sectors, sizes and business focuses, etc. identifying work strategies and objectives in each of them.

We also channel all horizontal issues that impact our sector through the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation (FIAB), in which ANICE is the sole representative of Spain's meat industry.

Q.- How do you defend the sector's interests at European level?

A.- ANICE is very active internationally as a representative of Spain's meat industry in European organizations which include other countries' national meat associations.

We work diligently within their governing bodies and in different working groups which address the many issues that affect the sector in Europe, and we are leaders in some of those issues.

We view meetings with sister organizations in other EU member states as very valuable, as they enable us to share our points of view and greatly improve the vision for the industry as a whole in Europe. This allows us to anticipate trends and challenges we will have to face as a sector in the near future and to work together to defend the Spanish and European meat industry vis-à-vis EU and international organizations.

Q.- How do you view the meat industry's future?

A.- We are optimists by nature, as our companies have demonstrated their capacity to adapt and compete, generating wealth in different areas and helping those people become established.

It's worth noting that the meat industry is the primary employer of the food industry, with almost 100,000 direct jobs, far outstripping other sectors.

However, there are several strategic areas where progress must be made, such as innovation and the commitment to quality and innovation. Additionally, the sector's image will be very important in the future.

Our Association is a leader in all of these areas, having achieved the approval of two operational groups focused on researching important issues for the meat industry. We have also drafted a proposal to revamp the meat industry in 2017-2020, a pioneering plan to which leading companies in the sector have signed on and whose commitments to society will soon be presented, along with those of other food segments.

We are also very committed to quality, developing an oversight system in line with the ideas proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, and we will continue to work in that area.

In terms of internationalization, an area in which ANICE provides advice and manages the resolution of trade obstacles and supports our companies' activities outside Spain, we created a specialized department and we are also promoting other strategic projects, such as Meat Attraction, a large trade fair specifically for the Spanish meat industry, through which we aim to encourage internationalization, strengthen our industry's image, and convey our values.

As for defending the sector's image and the fundamental role of meat and meat byproducts as part of a complete and healthy diet, we have worked very hard in cooperation with professional organizations to face challenges and we have made our own decisions in those situations.

One of the Association's main objectives is to help develop a meat industry that is socially responsible and based on a culture of sustainability, innovation, food safety and quality. It must be able to adapt to society's demands and comprise companies that are balanced with the other members of the food chain and are aligned with animal wellbeing and the highest standards of food safety, consumer health and respect for the environment.

In short, we want to position innovation and quality as the hallmarks of our industry, aligning with health trends that are in demand by consumers, whose satisfaction is the foundation of our business.

Our ability to respond to these challenges will hinge greatly on our ability to remain a leader in the food industry.

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