Mercabarna presents a study on the business opportunities in the ecological sector

On 14 July, the Mercabarna Trends Observatory presented the second study that it has prepared since its launch last April. On this occasion, the subject of interest chosen was ecological food, a sector in full expansion which can be a good line of business for the companies based on the premises.

Around fifty professionals attended this second workshop run by the Mercabarna Trends Observatory to learn about the findings of the study "Ecological Food: context, vision of the sector and consumer perspectives".

This study was commissioned, as pointed out by the Mercabarna CEO, Josep Tejedo, after detecting "growth in the consumption of ecological products in the last few years in Catalonia" and with the aim "to present new business opportunities to the Mercabarna companies".

A Growing Sector
Sustained growth of the ecological sector over the past decade in Europe, which already represents a turnover of 22,000 million euros per year, enables us to predict good prospects in the short and medium term. All indications are that this is not just a passing fad, but rather a trend that is here to stay.

The study, presented by the managers of the market research company, Market AAD and of the online ecological product store, Orgànic Gourmet, has taken an in-depth look at the production and consumption of ecological products in Spain and in Catalonia.

In the Spanish market, although the volume of business has quadrupled in the last decade, a certain amount of stagnation has begun to be perceived in this sector. This is not the case however in Catalonia where, according to the study, over the past 3 years, domestic consumption has doubled and in one year exports to the EU have increased from 20 to 40 million euros. All this, accompanied by an increase in agricultural land and the number of operators dedicated to ecological products rising from 20% and 30% respectively between 2012 to 2014.

A willing and informed consumer
Facing this reality and with a Spanish and Catalan consumer becoming increasingly more willing to consume ecological products, the challenges of agro-food operators are multiple.

Among those that stand out is the need to have a value chain where the distribution companies play an important role in making sure that the existing supply and growing demand come together and grow, strengthening the export of ecological products to other markets and creating a hub where all stakeholders are concentrated and promote projects focusing on innovation, training, etc.

Discussion panel with the entire sector
During the session there was also a debate held on the current situation of the ecological food market and on the detection of gaps, needs, opportunities and objectives which lay ahead for this sector.

In this discussion panel, moderated by the chef and specialist in ecological food, Isma Prados, representatives of the entire agro-food chain took part, from production and large-scale distribution, to the retail sector, restaurants, etc.