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Adding value to spanish exports


24 DE mayo DE 2017

Quality distinctions (increasingly) sell

  • Organic food products with quality distinctions had an economic value of 7.070 billion euros in 2015

Manel González. Journalist

The most recent data available for organic products with quality distinctions, which includes wine, spirits, and foods with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG), reflect the sector's positive situation when, in 2015, it had an economic value of 7.070 billion euros following growth of 8.7% in wines, 14.8% in agri-food products and 34% in organic products, compared with 2014.


According to the Directorate-General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing, Food and the Environment (MAPAMA), the point-of-origin economic value for products with PDO/PGI status during 2014-15 amounted to 3.410 billion euros, of which 3.200 billion euros were attributable to PDO wines, with 46% of the value in foreign markets, whereas PGI wines amounted to 210 million euros, accounting for 36% of international sales.

The total PDO and PGI wines from Spain registered with the EU amounted to 131 (90 PDO and 41 PGI), including one aromatized wine with PDO status. There are 1,567 PDO/PGI wines in the EU registry.

PDO wine's grape-growing area from August 1st, 2014 to July 21st, 2015 was almost 575,000 hectares, while PGI wines had about 110,000 hectares. In terms of regions, PDO La Mancha has the largest area (163,167 hectares), followed by La Rioja (64,539) and Catalonia (43,655), while the biggest areas for PGI wines are in Castile and Castile-León.

There are more than 133,000 grape growers: 123,700 in PDO Rioja (16,035), La Mancha (15,802) and Ribera del Duero (8,254). As for the number of wineries, PDO/PGI account for 4,829, of which 4,149 are PDO. Rioja and Cava stand out in particular, with 797 and 402, respectively.

The volume of PDO/PGI wine sold totaled 13.5 million hectoliters, 8.3 million of which remained in Spain and 5.2 million of which was sent abroad.

Of those, 11.6 million hectoliters were PDO, with Rioja leading the way with 24% in terms of volume, followed by Cava with 16%, Rueda with 6%, Ribera de Duero with 6% and Valdepeñas with 5%. In terms of types, 55% of the total sold was red wine, 19% was white and 16% was sparkling.

With respect to household consumption in 2015, PDO/PGI wines accounted for 46% of the total volume and 71% of value, with 4.35 liters and 15.4 euros per person.

Additionally, 4.76 million hectoliters of wine with PDO status was exported, led by cava (1.14 million hectoliters), Rioja (1.07 million hectoliters) and Valencia (0.34 million hectoliters). As for formats, 97% was packaged and 3% was bulk (PDO Valencia accounts for 51% of bulk exports). The main PDO red wine exported was from Rioja, with 37%; in white wines, Catalonia took the lead with 18%; and in rosé wines, Rioja came out on top again, with 28%.

In the category of liquor wines, Jerez accounts for 88% of the total, while sparkling wines from PDO Cava account for 99%. It's worth noting that 94% of wines in PDO Yecla sold during the 2014/2015 campaign were exported, as well as 81% of those from Jerez, 75% of those from Utiel-Requena, 71% from Cariñena, and 70% from Valencia. The main destinations were the UK, Germany, the US, Belgium, the Netherlands and China, in that order.

In terms of PGI wines, almost 2 million hectoliters were sold, of which 1.4 million came from PGI Castile, 0.2 million from PGI Extremadura and 0.1 million from PGI Castile-León. A total of 0.512 million hectoliters were exported, primarily to Germany, China, France, Poland and the US.

Food products

According to data from the Directorate General of the Food Industry, approximately 485,000 tons of PDO/PGI/TSG foods were sold in 2015, with a point-of-origin economic value of approximately 1.856 billion euros, of which 17% (317 million) were exports.

The total number of Spanish PDO/PGI/TSG products registered in the EU in 2015 amounted to 191, i.e. 2.7% more than in 2014, the main groups being virgin olive oil (29), cheese (28), vegetables (25), fruit (24) and fresh meat (17). In terms of distribution by region, Andalusia is the largest, with 33, followed by Catalonia (21) and Galicia (19).There are also 12 supraregional PDO/PGI and 4 TSG, for which the Ministry is responsible. In the EU, there are 1,382 food products registered with PDO/PGI/TSG status.

In terms of economic value, the five main food groups with quality seals are ham (710 million euros), cheese (260 million euros), fresh meat (232 million euros), fruit (220 million euros), and virgin olive oils (150 million euros).

The ham segment comprises more than 4,700 livestock farms and 362 companies, and exports 6% of production. Within that group is a sub-group of PDO Ibérico ham, for which there are 206 companies worth over 110 million, and Guijuelo accounts for 65%. Around 350,000 Ibérico hams and 230,000 Ibérico shoulders with PDO certification were sold in 2015. The TSG Serrano ham segment comprises 110 companies, which produce 10.4 million hams, worth around 577 million euros, and which export them to Germany, France, the Netherlands, the US and Mexico, for 34 million euros.

Spain exports 29% of the total value of its certified quality cheeses, mainly to Germany, the UK, France and the US. The PDO/PGI cheese with the greatest economic value is Manchego, which accounts for 53% of all PDO cheeses, with a value of 158 million euros; 65% of production is exported. It's followed by Arzúa-Ulloa cheese (22 million euros), Idiazábal, (20 million euros), and Mahón (16 million euros).

In the PDO/PGI fresh meat category, beef takes the lead, with 17,000 farms (175,000 cows), 74 slaughterhouses and 105 cutting rooms, which produce around 36,000 tons, worth 163 million euros. Just 1% is exported. Galician beef ranks first (57% of PDO beef), followed by Asturian beef (18%). The other sub-group, fresh lamb meat, has around 3,000 farms and 900,000 animals, 52 slaughterhouses and 11 cutting rooms which produce 5,300 tons, worth 41 million euros. The leaders in terms of value are suckling lamb from Castile-León (35%) and from Aragón (35%).

PDO/PGI fruit accounts for 45,000 hectares, 387 warehouses and close to 30,000 farmers, who produce 216,000 tons. Of that amount, 30% is exported, mainly to Italy, France, Germany and the UK. Products which stand out in particular include the Canary Island banana (86 million euros), the Ribera del Xúquer persimmon (46 million euros; 85% is exported) and the Girona apple (20 million euros).

Virgin olive oils represent 643,000 hectares, 347 oil mills and more than 118,000 farmers. Of the 115,000 tons produced, 78,700 tons are certified and just 40% is sold with PDO certification (31,000 tons). In terms of economic value, this segment represents 150 million euros, and 30% is exported. The most important PDO olive oils in terms of value come from Baena (25% is sold with a PDO label), Siurana (85%), Les Garrigues, Estepa and Sierra Segura (6%).

All of these PDO/PGI/TSG products together account for around 746,000 hectares of land and approximately 31,000 farms (with 2.4 million animals). Moreover, there are 3,516 companies involved.


Spirits with geographical indication deserve their own section. Their approximate point-of-origin economic value was 185 million euros in 2015, of which 36% was sherry brandy, 10.5% was sloe-flavored liqueur (Pacharán navarro) and 5.5% was herb liquor from Mallorca. There are 19 registered products in this category in the EU, and 245 spirits with geographic indication in the EU in total.

In terms of distribution, Galicia ranks first (4), followed by the Valencia region (4) and the Balearic Islands (4).

This sector comprises 232 companies which sell 18.6 million liters. Of the total, 46% are exported, i.e. 8.6 million liters. Of those, 92% is sherry brandy, for which 72% of production is exported, primarily to the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Mexico and Germany.

Organic agriculture

The point-of-origin value of organic agri-food products in 2015 amounted to 1.619 billion euros (35% more than in 2014), led by olive oil (443 million), vegetables (227 million) and meat (207 million).

In terms of volume, plant-based organic production amounted to 1.7 million tons, with wine accounting for almost 400,000 tons, vegetables for 243,000 tons and fruit for 213,000 tons. Organic animal-based production was led by meat, with 29,000 tons; milk, with 24,000 tons; and eggs, with more than 4 million dozens.

In terms of volume, organic production accounts for 14.4% of nuts, 11% of olive oil, almost 9% of wine, 3% of legumes and honey and 2% of fruit.

In 2015, exports of organic products amounted to 778 million euros (1.8% of Spanish agri-food exports that year) and imports had a value of 431 million euros (1.3% of the total). The most popular exports were fruits, vegetables, wine and olive oil, and the top imports were cereal by-products, baby food and coffee. The main export destinations were Germany, France and the UK, while non-EU countries accounted for less than 10%, mainly the US. Spain is the fourth-largest exporter in the world of organic products, trailing the US, Italy and the Netherlands.

It ranks fifth in the world in terms of the area dedicated to organic crops, following Australia, Argentina, the US, and China, though it's first within the EU. Spain is home to 1,969,000 hectares (7.8% of Spain's UAA), of which almost 72% are productive hectares. In regional terms, Andalusia takes the lead (51%), followed by Castile-La Mancha (19%) and Catalonia (7%).

The total number of producers, farmers and livestock breeders amounted to 34,673 in 2015, of which 86% were exclusively agricultural. There were also 3,492 processors, 716 wholesalers and 166 importers.

The number of organic livestock farms amounted to 7,553. Of the total, 46% had cattle, with 185,400 cows used to produce organic meat and 4,800 used for organic milk (accounting for 0.52% of total Spanish dairy production).

In the EU, the organic growing area amounted to 11.1 million hectares in 2015 (6.2% of the total UAA), with more than 271,500 producers and over 180,000 farms.

Lastly, in Spain there are 5,825 industrial establishments that work with organic production, of which 85% focus on vegetable-based products. The largest is the fruit and vegetable handling and preparation segment, followed by wines (wineries), juice and olive oil (oil mills).

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