The dynamics of innovation in the Spanish agri-food industry

The quality and richness of Spanish cuisine, in addition to the tradition and high standards of safety and quality, is also due to the commitment of Spanish producers in the food industry to innovation. These innovations have been recognized by the international industry, and every year Spanish producers and products win important awards, including the SIAL Paris Innovation Awards. Spanish producers have created new products that combine scientific findings, health and flavor concepts, demonstrating the great potential that technology and the agri-food sector can have when working together.

With innovation at their core, many Spanish companies have taken steps to refine their production methods and improve the quality of their final products; and to improve the sustainability and safety of their products and the entire process through the use of innovative methods and technologies.

Innovations in the production of Spanish extra virgin olive oil

Spain is the country with the largest area of olive trees in the world, with approximately 300 million olive trees, producing large quantities of high quality table olives and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), known as “liquid gold”. The extensive olive cultivation also has certain imbalances and problems of erosion and pollution, so Spanish EVOO producers are turning to more sustainable and innovative production methods.

To ensure that the production of olives and olive oil leaves a smaller footprint and protects the unique olive groves, the producers have taken several measures such as the development of vegetation cover, the implementation of certified agricultural systems with certifications including integrated, organic, and biodynamic production; the development of clean and renewable energy systems, water and carbon footprint control, the use of treated waste to produce bioenergy, and the restoration of native flora and fauna. The goal of these measures is to produce high quality extra virgin olive oil and table olives, while integrating agricultural processes into the ecosystem so that plants, birds and animals can coexist with the production activities of a more balanced olive grove.

The “Olivares Vivos” project is one of the projects that benefit the ecosystem of the olive grove production area, with the support of the local government of Jaén. The program aims to establish and certify a profitable model of olive cultivation, compatible with biodiversity conservation, allowing the production of extra virgin olive oil of certified quality. The olive oil with the “Vital Olive Grove” logo comes from olive groves that have significantly increased the diversity of flora and fauna. The project’s specifications establish the requirements for increasing the diversity of olive groves and ensuring traceability along the entire chain from the grove to the consumer; the project has made significant progress in just a few years, with participating groves producing olive oil that has been exported to more than 50 countries, and hundreds of olive growers now wishing to obtain the project’s certification. The project anticipates that more olive groves will be restored to biodiversity and that the footprint of the “Vital Olive Grove” will be extended to the rest of the world.

Exploring microalgae

Another cutting-edge project led by the Catalan government aims to meet the food challenges of a growing population through the development of microalgae. Based on the fact that microalgae are nutritious, protein-rich and sustainably produced, researchers are working to develop more advanced microalgae production technologies to meet the challenge of increasing global food production; a challenge based on FAO data, while meeting environmental, ecosystem protection requirements. The project is supported by 31 EU partners.

Originality and uniqueness

Spanish companies are also committed to making their products more original and creative, offering consumers new ways to enjoy the food they love.

A meat company in La Rioja, known for the originality of its products, has produced a chorizo product that is a new way to upgrade dishes: chorizo meat loaf, made 100% from ham or sausage, without any additives, preservatives or colors, gluten and lactose free. These dry meat products are low in fat and high in protein and are perfect for adding flavor and appearance to a variety of dishes, such as pasta, cream and cold soups, vegetables, scrambled eggs, potatoes, fish dishes and more.

For example, many people would not think that mixing chocolate and cheese is a good idea. But how can you know if it’s possible until you try it? A company in Antigua that specializes in artisanal cheese production has come up with a bold new product that has surprised consumers: chocolate cheese. This new product is a soft cheese made from pasteurized ewe’s milk combined with natural cocoa, giving the cheese a very distinctive color and chocolate flavor, and when you bite into it, you’ll find chocolate chips inside this delicate product. This new product is already generating great interest among gourmets willing to broaden their gastronomic horizons.

The Spanish agri-food industry not only follows a long-established gastronomic tradition, but also produces food and beverages according to the highest global safety and hygiene standards. While balancing quality, safety and sustainability, producers are also committed to constant innovation, combining centuries-old production traditions of iconic products with innovative technologies to improve production methods and techniques and offer consumers better and more original products. Innovation is the core driver of the entire Spanish agri-food industry.

Source: Food Partner Network

Post time: Aug-18-2022