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Export opportunity – Spain – health and wellness

Key details

Export opportunity: Health and wellness

Country: Spain

Sector: Food and drink

Spain – health and wellness opportunity summary 

Spain is one of several countries that has seen major growth in the health and wellness sector in recent years. There are many reasons for this, including the pandemic, health concerns, the climate crisis and increased interest in general wellbeing. 

In 2021 the Spanish government increased the tax on sugary drinks from 10% to 21% to reduce consumption. This was due to rising concerns over obesity rates among children. The increased awareness has sped up growth in the naturally healthy drinks category. It has also encouraged manufacturers to develop new products that provide reduced or natural sugar alternatives. 

The increased incidence of dietary intolerances, allergies and related conditions, and new eating habits (including vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets) provide sales opportunities for free-from functional products in Spain. 

In 2021, Danone SA was the leading company providing 'better-for-you' packaged food and fortified or functional packaged food in the Spanish market. Mercadona held the top spot for free-from and naturally healthy packaged food and Carrefour led for organic packaged food. 

Scale of export opportunity 

During 2022, Spanish consumers spent an average of 60 euros each on organic products both outside and inside the home – a figure that represents an increase of 3.1% (almost €2 euros) compared to the previous year, when €58.15 euros were spent. The data comes from the Annual Report on Organic Production and Consumption in Spain prepared by Ecovalia, the Spanish professional association of organic production. 

In Spain, also in 2022, the typical organic basket was 64% products of plant origin, mainly fruit (14%) and vegetables (10%), and 36% products of animal origin, mainly meat (27%). According to Ecovalia, the average price of organic products stood at €3.90 euros per kilogram in 2022. The average price of organic plant products was €2.47 euros per kilo.

The total market for organic products in Spain in 2022 reached €2,856 million euros, of which €2,532 million euros correspond to the market value at-home. (figures: Ecovalia)

The rise of healthy food ecommerce is widespread in almost all parts of Spain. The community of Aragón has shown the most growth, with around 335% more consumed in 2022 than in 2020. 

Extremadura also stands out – its inhabitants have almost tripled their consumption of healthy food, with an increase of 178%. Andalusia and the Basque Country have also doubled their consumption in just two years, with an increase of 102% and 110% respectively.  

The growth in consumption was more moderate in Catalonia, with an increase of 13.8%, and Madrid, which has experienced a boost of 32.9%. (figures: report) 

The plant-based foods market in Spain was worth €447.4 million euros in 2022 (an increase of 9% from 2020-2022), making Spain the fourth largest market for this type of product in Europe. Vegetable milk, which has experienced stable growth between 2020 and 2022, is the most developed category in Spain. Sales in euros of plant-based meat decreased in 2022, but this category did grow by 25% between 2020 and 2022.   

One of the least developed but fastest growing categories is plant-based seafood. With €1.7 million sales in euros in 2022, plant-based seafood remains one of the least developed categories compared to the others. However, with a powerful increase of more than 6,430% since 2020, it is considered a rapidly growing category. 

With sales reaching €352.8 million euros in 2022 and stable growth to date, plant-based milk is by far the most developed market compared to other plant-based food categories. Spain ranks second in terms of sales in euros of plant milk, and third in terms of spending in euros on plant-based milk per capita in Europe. 

Although sales in euros of plant-based meat grew by 25% between 2020 and 2022, in 2022 this decreased by up to €84.7 million euros. (figures: NielsenIQ) 

Company suitability   

Scottish companies best positioned to win this type of business are:  

  • Food and drink manufacturers focused on health and wellness products
  • Companies diversifying their current food and drink products into health and wellbeing-focused alternatives
  • Companies with products in the following categories:
    • Reduced or natural sugar
    • Low salt
    • Free-from
    • Vegan
    • Plant-based proteins
    • Vegetarian
    • High-protein and dairy alternatives
    • Natural soft drinks, including tea-based, fermented, vegetable and plant-based drinks
    • Snack products
    • Baked goods
  • Companies with international trade experience 

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