Organic Food Iberia, the first international event for organic food and sustainable products in the Iberian Peninsula, opens on June 6-7 along with Organic Wine Iberia and Eco Living Iberia at the IFEMA exhibition grounds in Madrid. Over 500 booths will greet and meet 4,000 professionals from the organic and sustainable sectors during the two days. 

According to the organizers, “the event will feature three dedicated theatres (the Organic Theatre, Kitchen Theatre, and Eco Living & Beauty Theatre), an Organic Wine Zone, the Innovation Zone – featuring the next wave of bestselling products, regional and international pavilions, and the Eco & Organic Awards Iberia.”

Portugal Foods, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development in Portugal, will take part at the show, joined by around 50 Portuguese suppliers/producers, according to the show organizers. 

“Supporting the growth of organic agri-food sector is a priority in Portugal and we are delighted to support Organic Food Iberia to showcase the diversity of quality produce from Portugal and to promote exports and the consumption of organic produce in the domestic market,” said Gonçalo de Freitas Leal, director-general for agriculture and rural development at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development in Portugal.

Spain has become the fourth player in the international organic sector, with over 2 million hectares under organic certification equivalent to 8.21 percent of its farmland. The country not only exports fresh organic fruits and vegetables, but domestic sales of organic produce and processed foods will reach the €2 Billion in 2019, compared to €1.686 Billion for the previous year, according to Ecological, Spain’s first organic consultancy business. 

Fruits, vegetables, and cereals are the most popular organic categories, accounting to a significant 44% share of organic sales, 25% for meat and dairy.

Andalucia, Valencia and Murcia are the regions with the most significant organic production and will have the largest dedicated pavilions. Other regions such as La Rioja, the Basque Country, Galicia, and Madrid, will exhibit along several foreign firms from The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Switzerland, Belgium, Turkey, Korea, and the UK.

“Spain is a promising market,” said Jorge Urena founder and CEO of UHTCO Corporation, a Canadian firm of Peruvian origins. “We have visited buyers for our special canned quinoa and fish line recently and received great interest and first orders for our exclusive Peruvian superfoods.” The sister firm UHTCO EU, based in Austria, will be the direct exhibitor.

“We will exhibit at Organic Food Iberia to increase the visibility of our Ferme line and already have a distributor,” said Gert-Jan de Groot responsible for business development at Italian firm Euro Company S.r.l Societa Benefit – Nuts for Healthy Living. Ferme is the brand for a delicious and nutritious plant-based cheese alternative made with only three ingredients: nuts, water, and a pinch of salt. The product has opened the door to a new food category called “fermentino.”

At the consumer and industry event BioCultura Madrid last November, Francisco Javier Maté, deputy general director for differentiated quality and organic agriculture at MAPA, revealed that Spanish shoppers are increasingly opting for organic and are now spending over five million euros a day on organic food and drink.

“Organic production is one of the biggest opportunities for the Spanish economy right now. Spaniards increasingly value organic (products). Organic Food Iberia couldn’t have come at a better time.  As a truly international showcase – not only will it support the growth of the domestic market by promoting the best organic produce from across Spain and Portugal, it will also facilitate trade with the best producers, exporters and distributors from around the world,” said Susana Andrés-Omella, Project Director. 

Organic Food Iberia, Eco Living Iberia and Organic Wine Iberia are organized by Diversified Communications in partnership with IFEMA. Diversified brings to the table an experience of over 25 years developing organic industry events in the US, the UK, Scandinavia, and Australia. IFEMA is the leading event organizer in Spain, with over 600 events, 110 fairs, and congresses.

Carsten Holm, managing director, Diversified UK Ltd. told OWN that June is a great time to celebrate a new industry event. “It coincides with the key harvest season for fresh fruit and vegetables, and the weather is perfect in Madrid. It would be difficult for international buyers to resist a couple of days away in the sun in this amazing city!”

Veritas, Naturasi España, El Corte Inglés, Carrefour Bio, Anecoop, Biocop, Aldi, Holland & Barrett and Eroski are some of the leading local and foreign buyers expected to attend the new fair.

The organic sector in Spain hosts 4,300 processors and 39,700 producers, wholesalers, retailers, and other related industry players. The industry generates over 85,000 jobs. 

 Spain, the main organic wine exporter by volume

Spain produces more than a quarter of the world’s organic wine supply and Organic Wine Iberia will host over 40 top vineyards offering some of the best organic and/or biodynamic wines and grapes, announced the show organizers in April. In 2017 Spain registered 939 eco-wineries and with increased demand, especially in Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, Switzerland, the Benelux countries, and the UK, it is estimated that the number has already reached 1,000 wine operations.

The above results position Spain as the world’s tenth market for organic products. Currently, the Spanish domestic organic retail enjoys a market share of 2 percent, with 30 percent of the consumers under 30 years of age.

Interesting to note that the low birth rate in Spain along with migration to the cities has left a sizeable elderly population left in rural areas and no employment opportunities for younger people. Organic farming is now attracting younger families to start enterprises in forgotten millennial towns, promising to reinvigorate ancestral food production and the local economy.

Consumers are also more aware of the negative impact of daily habits and purchasing behavior on the environment. Campaigns to reduce plastic and recycle more is now more encouraged by the government.