As a country with rich gastronomy, Spain has been strongly influenced throughout history by all the peoples who conquered and colonized its territory. Today, the Mediterranean diet, with its simplicity and variety of foods, is considered the backbone of Spanish cuisine. So much so that, in a joint denomination with Greece, Italy, and Morocco, UNESCO added the diet to the Cultural Heritage List in 2010. Nonetheless, the food sector in Spain is evolving, and consumption habits are slowly changing. Indeed, across the country, an increasing number of people are taking an interest in healthier, more natural, and whole foods.
Less is more
Nowadays, the trend of removing additives and even whole food groups from daily meals is gaining market shares around the globe, and this movement is not sparing Spain. The most popular additive-avoiding diet among Spaniards is the low-carb diet, followed by the lactose and gluten-free ones.
Meat is a slightly more complicated issue. Indeed, with a consumption of almost 50 kilograms per capita, meat is often found on Spanish dinner tables. However, with health and environmental concerns in mind, interest in meat alternatives is growing. For example, the plant-based food market generated almost 450 million euros in 2020. To keep the momentum going, Minister of Consumer Affairs Alberto Garzón strongly encouraged the population to decrease its meat consumption in a speech at the end of 2021, pointing out the harmful role of intensive livestock farming in the current climate crisis.
The Spanish government is not planning on stopping there. Taking a stance through several anti-waste policies, it intends to implement fines against restaurants and supermarkets that throw away food.
Price inflation versus food trends: who will come out on top?
Recent years have been marked by a notorious inflation rate worldwide. In the case of Spain, the cost of living has skyrocketed. After the shutting down and reopening of economies generated an imbalance between supply and demand with the COVID-19 pandemic, the consequences of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine on the production line are now being felt more than ever. As a result, the economic situation of many countries has worsened within the European Union and worldwide, with prices shooting up and consumers feeling like making food choices to protect the environment and their health is no longer an option. In Spain, two-thirds of consumers experience that the increased cost of living prevents them from living more sustainably.
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Research Expert covering global food topics with a focus on the French and Spanish markets.