This report provides guidance to U.S. companies interested in exporting high-value consumer-ready food products to Spain and includes an overview of the country's economic situation, market structure, and export requirements.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: SP1124
Spain?s economy continues to struggle, with outrageous unemployment rates (over 20 percent) and low
GDP growth. The economic recovery might still be some years away and consumer confidence and
domestic demand are at low levels. In this gloomy scenario, the dynamic Spanish market still offers
opportunities for certain consumer-oriented food items, as well as long-term prospects for other products. This
report provides guidance to U.S. companies interested in exporting high-value consumer-ready food products to
Spain and includes an overview of the country's economic situation, market structure, and export requirements.
SECTION I MARKET OVERVIEW
SECTION II EXPORTER BUSINESS TIPS
SECTION III MARKET SECTOR STRUCTURE AND TRENDS
SECTION IV BEST HIGH-VALUE PRODUCT PROSPECTS
SECTION V. KEY CONTACTS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
APPENDIX ? STATISTICS
A. KEY TRADE AND DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
B. CONSUMER FOOD AND EDIBLE FISHERY PRODUCT IMPORTS
C. TOP 15 SUPPLIERS OF CONSUMER FOODS AND EDIBLE FISHERY PRODUCTS
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 2
SECTION I. MARKET OVERVIEW
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS IMPORTS
($ Million) (1)
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011* 2012**
Total Agricultural, Fish and Forestry
Products 36,926 40,500 33,005 33,999 38,000 40,000
Total U.S. Agricultural, Fish and Forestry
Products 1,704 1,882 951 1,318 1,700 2,000
Total Food Products 26,157 30,522 25,378 25,845 27,000 30,000
Total U.S. Food Products 1,230 1,576 755 1,112 1,300 1,500
Total Fish and Seafood Products 7,037 7,042 5,873 6,378 7,000 7,500
Total U.S. Fish and Seafood Products 136 127 103 113 120 125
(1) Global Trade Atlas (GTA)
Spain?s financial crisis, the soaring unemployment rate and the virtually zero GDP growth characterizes
Spain?s stagnant economy.
Unemployment in Spain is the largest in the European Union - currently 21.52 percent in the third
quarter of 2011. Spain?s economy excessive reliance on the construction sector along with the global
economic crisis severely hit the country, causing unemployment to rise from 8.3 percent in 2007 to 20.1
percent by the end of 2010. And this figure has continued to rise. This situation is expected to continue
to negatively affect retail food sales, consumer confidence and overall retail sales performance. For
example, industry sources estimate that meat consumption has declined 15 percent, and even bread
consumption appears to have declined by 5 percent.
Discount retailers and other lower-price outlets are making the most of the recession as a growing
number of consumers become increasingly price-sensitive. Changes in Spain?s domestic market
regulations, including more liberal Sunday shopping laws, are expected to give a boost to slow retail
sales. Spain has a diversified distribution structure for food products, ranging from traditional
distribution methods --whereby wholesalers sell to small shops that cater directly to the public-- to large
multinational supermarkets and retail stores.
Department stores, hypermarkets, shopping centers and very specialized outlets are introducing the
customer loyalty concept, which usually involves issuing client cards, cumulative discounts and special
offers for frequent customers. Innovative sales techniques are becoming increasingly popular. Vending
machines have spread through Spain over the past decade. Direct marketing by mail order, telephone,
TV or e-commerce is growing considerably.
The European Union (EU) establishes the rules and regulations governing acceptable sanitary,
phytosanitary, general trade and labeling practices in Spain. As a result, U.S. exporters already
exporting to other EU countries most likely already know and can meet most of the requirements for
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 3
exporting to Spain. The key for a U.S. exporter wishing to enter this market is to find an agent or
distributor, or to establish a subsidiary. An experienced representative in Spain will likely be familiar
with all the different consumption patterns and preferences in each of the country?s 17autonomous
The Office of Agricultural Affairs in Madrid is dedicated to helping U.S. food and agricultural product
exporters access the Spanish market. Please contact us at:
Foreign Agricultural Service
Office of Agricultural Affairs
U.S. Embassy Madrid
C/ Serrano 75
Tel.: +34-91-587 2555
Fax: +34-91-587 2556
ADVANTAGES AND CHALLENGES FACING U.S. PRODUCTS IN SPAIN
Growing niche markets such as ethnic foods. High marketing costs (advertising, discounts,
Interest in high-quality products. Competition with similar food products
produced in other EU countries that enter tariff
High consumer interest in new products. Reluctance to purchase products containing
genetically modified ingredients.
Favorable dollar exchange rate. Supermarket and hypermarket shelf space is
Reduced fish catch from European waters while Potentially higher shipping costs from the U.S.
consumer demand remains strong.
Modern food distribution system. EU labeling and packaging laws.
Growing consumer demand for value-added Spanish complicated financial situation and high
products, convenience foods and functional unemployment rate.
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 4
Spanish Market for U.S. Agricultural Products
SOURCE: Global Trade Atlas
Competition within Spain?s Food and Agricultural Product Import Market
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 5
SOURCE: Global Trade Atlas
SECTION II. BUSINESS TIPS FOR EXPORTERS
Local Business Customs
Success in introducing your product to the Spanish market depends on acquiring local representation
and personal contact. The advantages of local representation include market knowledge, up-to-date
information and guidance on business practices and trade law, sales contacts, and market development
Spain has a number of sales channels ranging from traditional distribution methods ? whereby
wholesalers sell to small retail shops that sell to the public ? to large multinational supermarkets and
retail stores. However, personal relationships are still very important, especially within smaller
organizations. There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings with Spanish business representatives in
order to break into this market.
The decision-making process within a Spanish company may be different from that in the United
States. An initial "yes" usually means that the company will study the situation, and not necessarily
that they will buy the product. Once a deal is struck, the Spanish company will likely expect the U.S.
firm to translate into Spanish all commercial brochures, technical specifications and other relevant
marketing materials. Decision makers at Spanish firms may speak English, but paperwork should be in
The Spanish market is composed of a number of regional markets serviced by two major hubs; Madrid
and Barcelona. The vast majority of agents, distributors, foreign subsidiaries and government-
controlled entities that make up the economic power block of the country operate in these two hubs.
Dealers, branch offices, and government offices found outside these two hubs will almost invariably
obtain their supplies from their Madrid and Barcelona contacts rather than engage in direct importation.
Market Entry Strategies
Market entry strategies for U.S. products intending to enter the Spanish market should include:
1. Market research in order to assess product opportunities
2. Advanced calculations of the cost of introducing the product in the Spanish market, in
order to confirm its competitiveness in the local market.
3. Identify an experienced distributor or independent reliable agent to advise on import
duties, sanitary regulations and labeling requirements.
4. Explore purchasing arrangements of the larger retail channels.
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 6
General Consumer Tastes and Preferences
According to Euromonitor, the recession is expected to shift some consumer habits. The economic
downturn had a significant impact on Spanish consumers, with most consumers scaling down on their
The same source indicates that the fresh food market is benefiting from the increasing focus on health
and wellness, a trend which is expected to continue in the mid-term. Value-added and functional
products are particularly benefiting from the downturn. The Spanish were also keen to save money
anywhere they can and many have taken renewed interest in home cooked foods. According to industry
sources, and although it depends on the type of ready meal, approximately 50% of Spaniards consume
ready meals regularly. Lack of time for cooking was quoted as the main reason for purchasing ready
meals; however as the rate of unemployment keeps growing, the number of people staying at home and
cooking their own meals is likely to reduce the demand for ready meals. The market segments that will
likely benefit from this consumer trend are discount stores, heath-conscious and organic foods.
Consumer confidence continued to fall in 2011. In order to change this tendency, some leading retail
chains offer an increasing number of new and innovative services intending to soften the impact of
recession. As consumers are more price-sensitive, store brands are becoming more popular, offering
better value than branded products.
Food Standards and Regulations
For more information on food standards and regulations, please consult the Food and Agricultural
Import Regulations and Standards Report (FAIRS) and the FAIRS Export Certificate Report for the EU
and Spain at http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/AttacheRep/default.asp.
Also, please check the U.S. Mission to the European Union web page at
http://www.fas.usda.gov/posthome/useu for helpful information on exporting U.S. food and agricultural
products into the EU.
General Import and Inspection Procedures
Spain follows the Harmonized Nomenclature and Classification System (HS) and applies import duties
according to a maximum and minimum rate schedule. The minimum tariff rate is applied to goods
originating in countries entitled to the benefits of most-favored nation treatment -- that is, members of
the World Trade Organization (WTO), including the United States, and countries with which the EU
has signed trade agreements. In some instances, Free Trade Agreements negotiated between the EU
and other countries provide for tariff-free access to the European market ? leaving U.S. exporters at a
The local importer has primary responsibility with the Spanish Government for imported food products
once they enter the Spanish territory. Therefore, the Spanish agent/importer should guide the exporter
through the entire process of marketing a U.S. food or agricultural product in Spain.
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 7
The following documents are required for ocean or air cargo shipments of food products into Spain:
Bill of Lading and/or Airway Bill
Phytosanitary Certificate and/or Health Certificate, when applicable
Most food products require an Import Certificate issued by the competent authority. The Import
Certificate is obtained by the importer and/or the agent involved in the transaction and is intended for
tariff classification purposes.
Please keep in mind that if the product you are exporting into Spain does not comply with EU
harmonized regulations, Spanish customs or health authorities may not allow entry of the product.
For more information on import and inspection procedures in Spain, please see Food Standards and
Regulations within this report.
SECTION III. MARKET SECTOR STRUCTURE AND TRENDS
Food Retail Sector
The Spain retail food market is highly diversified. Hypermarkets/supermarkets, convenience stores,
major discount stores and specialized stores coexist with traditional corner grocery stores and open-air
markets. Yet, the total number of retail outlets has decreased significantly over the past decade.
In Spain, hyper and supermarkets account for 60 percent of total food sales.
There is increasing competition in the scope and range of product offerings, including ready-to-
eat and/or ready-to-cook foods, take away meals, and home delivery - and the prices and
services retailers offer consumers.
An increasing supply of imported products has intensified competition among suppliers and
EU Member States are the major suppliers of consumer-ready products to other EU countries.
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 8
Importer, Broker, Agent, U.S. Rep for Europe
Retail Food Sector
For more information on the Spanish Retail Food Sector, please consult the retail sector reports for
Spain at http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/AttacheRep/default.asp
The HRI sector expanded significantly during the mid 80?s and 90?s until 2008, as a result of the
profound social and economic changes unleashed upon Spain?s accession to the EU in 1986. In 2007,
HRI expansion was hard hit by the economic, real estate and financial crises. As Spain is expected to
be one of the last EU countries to recover from the current recession, the HRI downturn is expected to
continue throughout 2012.
Spain is one of the top tourism destinations in the world, with increasing numbers of tourists
every year, boosting demand for meals in the HRI sector. In 2008 and 2009, the number of
tourists decreased by 2.5 and 8.8 percent respectively. In 2010, the tourist sector showed signs
of recovery with an increase of 1 percent compared to previous year. In the data available from
January to November 2011, the number of tourists has gone up by 8 percent compared to the
same period in 2010. The recovery was partly due to the improvement in the financial situation
of other European countries. The future is uncertain for the sector as it is highly dependent on
the development of the economic situation of neighbor countries.
In Spain, in 2010, the HRI sector accounted for about 28 percent of all food consumed.
Expenditure per capita in the HRI sector decreased by 4.4 percent in 2010 compared to 2009.
Due to Spain?s high unemployment rate, it is expected that less people will be dining out of
home, and those who go out, will look for cheaper establishments. Thus, fast food chains have
benefited from the financial crisis, taking up consumers looking for cheaper food prices but
reluctant to stop eating out.
Consumption of ready-to-eat and take-away food has grown in the last years as consumers
substitute home-cooking for convenience and timesaving. Most hyper and supermarket chains
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 9
Importer, Broker, Agent,
U.S. Rep for Europe
now offer ready-to-eat/take away food, and there is an increasing number of food outlets
specializing in take-away, ranging from barbecue to more traditional meals. Cash-and Carry,
Mar Hypermarkets, Supermarkets ket Structure:
For more information on the Spanish HRI Sector, please consult the HRI sector reports for Spain at
Food Processing Sector
The Spanish food-processing sector modernized and expanded significantly during the last couple of
decades. With integration into the European Union in 1986, Spain?s food-processing sector began a
profound transformation, paying special attention to quality, safety and traceability of food products in
order to adapt to new EU requirements. Although the situation of the Spanish economy is affecting the
investment and expansion of the sector, the food processing industry has a specific weight in the
economy and the export markets, making this sector an attractive target for U.S. food-ingredient
Statistics on Spain?s food-processing sector indicate that gross production in 2010 increased by 0.52
percent compared to 2009 to ? 81.37 billion. As a reference, sector data for 2010 are as follows:
The Spanish food processing sector generated just under 16 percent of Spain?s total industrial
sales, accounting for about 8 percent of the national gross domestic product.
The sector is comprised primarily of small companies--about 96 percent of the 30,261 food
processors are small and medium-size companies, employing a total of 445,475 workers, which
accounts for 17 percent of all industrial employment.
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 10
U.S. Rep for Europe
Importer, Broker, Agent,
Market Structure: Wholesaler, Distributor
Food Processing Sector
For more information on the Spanish food processing sector, please consult the food processing sector
report for Spain at http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/AttacheRep/default.asp
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 11
SECTION IV. BEST HIGH-VALUE PRODUCT PROSPECTS
Products Present in the Spanish Market with Good Sales Potential
HS Product 2010 2010 5-Year Key Attraction for
Code Market Spanish Average Category S Constraints U.S. Exporters ize Imports Import
(Volume) ($ Growth
M (% illion)
0303 Frozen Fish 132 TMT $769 6% Heavy competition Good reputation and
from other EU reliability of U.S. Member States and producers.
High per capita
Spanish bad economic consumption of fish.
0304 Fish Fillets and 584 TMT $731 3% Heavy competition Good reputation and
Other Fish Meat from other EU reliability of U.S.
(Minced, Fresh, Member States and producers.
Chilled or domestic suppliers.
Frozen) High per capita
Bad economic consumption of fish.
080212 Almonds 71TMT $223 4% Aflatoxin issues. Domestic consumption
of tree nuts is
Sp increasing due to their anish economic
utilization in the
Signs of recovery of
U.S. exports of
almonds to Spain in
080231 Walnuts 34 TMT $111 4% Competition from US walnuts, both
080232 other EU countries. shelled and in-shell are
making inroads in
Spain due to increased
awareness of the health
benefits of tree nuts.
080250 Pistachios 9 TMT $77 -5% Competition from Iran Domestic consumption
and EU importers, of tree nuts continues to
such as Germany, who increase. U.S.
re-export this product pistachios have a higher
to Spain. quality image than
Iranian, the major
Despite the total
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 12
negative growth figure,
imports from the U.S.
have increased in the
last 5 years (average
growth for the U.S. was
120100 Soybeans 3,119 TMT $1,385 11% Price sensitivity and Spain is a net importer
volatility. of grains and oilseeds
for feed consumption.
SECTION V. KEY CONTACTS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
If you have any questions or comments regarding this report or need assistance in exporting to Spain,
please contact the Office of Agricultural Affairs in Madrid:
Foreign Agricultural Service
Office of Agricultural Affairs
U.S. Embassy Madrid
Serrano, 75 ? Box 2000
Tel.: +34-91-587 2555
Fax: +34-91-587 2556
Please consult our home page for more information on exporting U.S. food products to Spain. Importer
lists are also available from our office to exporters of U.S. food products. A list of trade associations
and useful government agencies is provided below:
Spanish Trade Associations:
FIAB - Federaci?n de Industrias de Alimentaci?n y Bebidas
(Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries)
FEHR ? Federaci?n Espa?ola de Hosteler?a
(Spanish Federation for HRI Sector)
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 13
ASEDAS ? Asociaci?n Espa?ola de Distribuidores, Autoservicios y Supermercados
(Spanish Association for Distributors and Supermarkets)
ANGED ? Asociaci?n Nacional de Grandes y Medianas Empresas de Distribuci?n
(National Association of Midsize and Large Distributors)
Spanish Government Agencies:
Ministerio de Sanidad, Pol?tica Social e Igualdad
(Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality)
(Responsible for: Imported Foodstuffs, Contaminants and Compound Residues, Health
Certification, Port Inspection and EU Alerts)
Agencia Espa?ola de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrici?n (AESAN)
(Spanish Food Safety and Nutrition Agency)
Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino
(Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs)
For more information on exporting U.S. agricultural products to other countries, please visit the Foreign
Agricultural Service home page at www.fas.usda.gov
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 14
APPENDIX I. STATISTICS
A. Spain?s Key Trade and Demographic Information
Agricultural Imports From All Countries ($Mil) / U.S. Market Share (% 1) * $26,000/4.6%
Consumer Oriented Agricultural Imports From All Countries($Mil)/U.S. Market $15,000/2.5%
Shar 1e (%) *
Edible Fishery Imports From All Countries ($Mil) / U.S. Market Share (% 1) $7,200/1.8%
Total Population (Millions) / Annual Growth Rate (%) - 2011 46.2/0.4%
Total Population (Millions) / Annual Growth Rate (%) * 46.7/0.6%
Number of Major Metropolitan Areas (over 800,000 population) 7
Per Capita Gross Domestic Product 2010 (nominal) $29,875
Unemployment Rate (%) ? 3rd Quarter 2011 21.52%
Per Capita Food Expenditures - 2010 $1,973
Labor force (million) - 2010 23
Exchange Rate (US$1 = 1 Euro) ? Sept 2011 ?0.74
(1) Source: Global Trade Atlas (GTA)
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 15
B. Spain?s Food Imports (US$ Millions)
Commodity Total Imports Imports from U.S Market Share
Worldwide the U.S. %
2009 2010 2011* 2009 2010 2011* 2009 2010 2011*
ORIENTED 13,259 13,598 15,000 340 326 380 2.6 2.4 2.5
Snack Foods (Excluding
Nuts) 930 937 1,000 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.1 0.1 0.1
Breakfast Cereals and
Pancake Mix 223 208 210 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Fresh/Chilled/Frozen 1,021 1,052 1,100 0.5 0.6 1 0.0 0.0 0.1
Prepared/Preserved 346 334 350 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Poultry Meat 323 349 400 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
(Excluding Cheese) 1,422 1,329 1,500 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Cheese 1,035 1,100 1,200 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Eggs & Products 80 74 77 0.3 0.2 0.9 0.4 0.3 1.2
Fresh Fruit 1,203 1,255 1,300 0.3 0.7 1 0.0 0.1 0.1
Fresh Vegetables 669 676 800 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.1 0.1 0.1
Processed Fruit and
Vegetables 1,178 1,209 1,300 7.7 8.6 8.0 0.6 0.7 0.6
Fruit and Vegetable
Juices 275 284 300 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Tree Nuts 517 550 600 300 296 350 58.0 53.8 58.3
Wine and Beer 415 401 450 1 1 1 0.2 0.2 0.2
Nursery Products & Cut
Flowers 229 220 230 3 4 7 1.3 1.8 3.04
Pet Foods (Dog and Cat
Food) 245 233 240 1 2 1 0.4 0.8 0.4
Oriented Products 3,414 3,384 3,400 24 11 15 0.7 0.3 0.4
FISH & SEAFOOD
PRODUCTS 5,873 6,378 7,200 103 113 130 1.7 1.7 1.8
Salmon 226 276 300 8 12 13 3.5 4.3 4.3
Crustaceans 1,404 1,607 1,900 38 47 50 2.7 2.9 2.6
Groundfish and Flatfish 611 541 600 1 0.6 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.01
Molluscs 1,047 1,321 1,700 7 9 12 0.7 0.7 0.7
Other Fishery Products 2,584 2,631 3,000 49 44 45 1.9 1.7 1.5
AGRICULTURAL 25,378 25,845 26,000 755 1,111 1,200 3.0 4.3 4.6
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 16
FISH & FORESTRY
TOTAL 33,005 33,999 35,000 951 1,318 1,500 2.9 3.9 4.3
C. Spain?s Top 15 Food Import Suppliers
SPANISH IMPORTS OF
SPANISH IMPORTS OF FISH AND SEAFOOD
CONSUMER-ORIENTED AGRIC. PRODUCTS PRODUCTS
(US$ 1,000) (US$ 1,000)
2009 2010 2011* 2009 2010 2011*
France 3,085,550 3,271,162 3,500,000 Argentina 378,593 500,374 550,000
Germany 1,922,426 1,865,482 2,000,000 Morocco 525,416 479,939 500,000
s 1,456,653 1,498,387 1,600,000 China 303,966 398,536 450,000
Italy 952,404 903,304 1,100,000 s 352,016 337,795 350,000
Portugal 820,046 812,389 840,000 France 321,620 327,413 380,000
Belgium 693,922 712,916 800,000 Ecuador 301,986 326,572 420,000
Ireland 735,779 629,595 700,000 Portugal 265,510 312,030 350,000
Kingdom 417,475 438,527 470,000 Kingdom 304,492 301,198 300,000
Denmark 368,715 349,473 371,000 Denmark 253,524 264,181 250,000
States 340,196 326,575 400,000 Italy 209,062 208,987 200,000
Peru 220,848 240,351 300,000 Namibia 220,871 205,807 230,000
Morocco 252,827 217,887 235,000 India 142,740 191,054 230,000
Brazil 198,705 212,061 230,000 Chile 201,155 187,815 220,000
Austria 228,704 202,703 205,000 Vietnam 165,551 162,099 160,000
Poland 212,135 202,567 200,000 Sweden 112,782 149,469 180,000
Other 1,623,323 1,715,163 2,049,000 Other 1,813,83 2,024,98 1,730,00
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 17
0 5 0
13,529,70 13,598,54 15,000,00 5,873,11 6,378,25 6,500,00
World 8 2 0 World 4 4 0
Spain ? Exporter Guide 2011 18