Wednesday, August 4

the challenges of the food industry




The food industry in the Community of Madrid this Friday has been the protagonist of the ABC Alimenta Madrid Forum, where the challenges and challenges faced by ranchers and farmers across the country have been analyzed. The focus has been on sustainability and changing consumption habits, without neglecting the environmental commitment and innovation, so necessary to adapt to the new times and to push the primary sector in the local market and in the international sphere. “The consumer demands more and more organic market,” said, bluntly, Sergio López, managing director of the Madrid Institute for Rural, Agrarian and Food Research and Development (Imidra), who has exposed the need that the Administrations support, in short term, the New strategies organic products that producers will have to develop to meet consumer demands. «The consumer demands more and more organic market. The challenge is to continue working with the objective of freedom», He insisted, in a debate moderated by the gastronomic journalist and writer Alberto Granados.

With him has agreed Diego Canga, Principal Director of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission. “Public opinion is asking for a little more, asking for a green, digital and resilient economy. We need agriculture to be a little greener than it is now, “he remarked, while emphasizing the ecological sector. “What the European Commission wants is for 25% of the surface to be organic by 2030. If I were today a farmer or farmer, I would bet on organic farming: there will be money for development and for the export program. The rules are clear and consumers are increasingly asking for more bi productsor. In Europe we import a lot of bio because we do not produce enough ”, he pointed out:“ 60% of consumers already know what organic products are. There are cities that increasingly buy organic products for barracks, hospitals, universities and schools. Canga also spoke about the sector’s commitment during the pandemic, emphasizing that, among all the negative things that Covid-19 is leaving in the world, there has been a positive one: putting in value the work of ranchers and farmers thanks to which there has not been a food crisis.

“Our food is already sustainable and our production, too”, highlighted, for his part, Pedro Gallardo, Vice-President of the Committee of European Agricultural Professional Organizations. “We have known how to adapt, the country has evolved. We are producing in a sustainable way, with quality standards and having food on all supermarket shelves. It is necessary to do a local agriculture, but beware, 40% of Spanish production goes to countries outside, “he said, without wanting to” demonize “the rest of agriculture that is not organic. “That the market regulates, but we do not educate future generations only in ecological culture,” he asked.

“The consumer is the boss, the boss,” he said. Victor Yuste, general director of the Interalimentario Forum. “The productions must be focused on the markets, and those markets are made up of the consumers. We must be more efficient and bet on quality, warmth and food safety “, he explained, underlining that since the beginning of the pandemic, when the sector was declared essential, there was no lack of basic necessities: «We also have a training challenge for the entire sector and to continue betting on automation in the processes of the food industry and distribution ”.

In the debate it has also been present Ricardo Oteros, president of the Community Food Business Association (Aseacam), which has continued in the line of transforming companies to cope with changing tastes and consumption habits. In this sense, he has made a analysis of the companies in the region, where half are SMEs with no more than three workers. “Companies with more than 100 employees, there are no more than 59. Small companies do a fantastic job in making food healthier, more traceable and closer. Have sustainability in capital letters it is an already present challenge regarding environmental impact and the need for transformation. Innovation is the only one that can help us face the great challenges “, explained the president.

All the speakers have agreed to value the quality of food products that exist in the Community of Madrid and the work done so far by farmers and ranchers. The speech of the Minister for the Environment, Spatial Planning and Sustainability has focused on this, Paloma Martin, present at the event sponsored by Reale Seguros, Imidra, Sabadell and the Community of Madrid. “Madrid is a great market, it is among the best in Spain and the world, it has earned the interest and appreciation of a greater number of consumers,” the minister began. “We have 24 Michelin-starred restaurants that mix the roots of the region with international flair. Being a region open to all means that we Madrilenians know what is closest to us. The future of a powerful agri-food sector depends on social support ”, he stated.

Martín has assured that the Government of the Community of Madrid is working to develop a model with a differentiated identity. “We are working on a rebranding that improves the quality brand, with a direct and preferential choice of consumers. Not only inform by stamping the products, but create a brand. It is time to bond and be proud ”, said the minister, who hopes that this rebranding model will create Madrid products to position, within the Terra Plan, the agri-food sector at the forefront.

“It’s time to Look into the future And that happens by being aligned with the EU guidelines to make a transition to a sustainable agri-food system, based on healthy diets. The future is to combine tradition, sustainability and environmental commitment “, he stated, ensuring that the Community will continue to push the sector that has been the protagonist during the pandemic:” Our agri-food sector will continue to be a essential asset for the Community and for the people of Madrid ».

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