The Spanish cheese market is around 365,020 tonnes per year and appears to be registering modest growth in recent years. The total value of this market is estimated at 2,620 million euros. The two main offers are semi-cured cheeses, with 21.3% of total sales in volume and 25.7% in volume, and fresh cheeses, with respective percentages of 29.9% and 20.2% . Below these are cheeses (12% and 9.2%), sheep cheeses (5.1% and 7.6%), tender cheeses (6.1% and 6.7%), cured cheeses (3.6% and 5.3%), ball cheeses (1.6% and 2%), blue cheeses (0.9% and 1% 3%) and Emmental and Gruyere cheeses (1,2% and 1,3%). The remaining cheeses represent 13.4% in volume and 13.7% in value. In the organized distribution, the most consolidated offer is that of the national pressed cheese, with quotas of 35.7% in volume and 42.2% in value. Fresh cheeses (19.9% and 15%), melted cheeses (15.6% and 10.9%), specialties (12.3% and 14%), grated cheeses ( 10.1% by volume and value), white cheese (3.1% and 3.8%), Emmental and Gruyere cheeses (1.6% and 1.5%), 1.3% and 2%) and assortments (0.2% and 0.4%). Among the Spanish cheeses of pressed pasta, tender cheeses represent 36% of the total in volume and 35% in value, followed closely by the semi-cured ones (35.2% and 33.2%) and cured and old cheeses ( 28.8% and 31.9%). In the soft cheeses are those of type Burgos most accepted by the Spanish consumers, with 86,1% of the total demands in volume and 79,6% in value.


The sector of cheese manufacturers and marketers has been immersed in an important process of modernization that has not yet been completed. From a situation characterized by the large number of artisanal or semi-artisanal operators and with very small production figures, a more dynamic and competitive reality is being achieved, with some large groups that have diversified their offerings, achieved significant volumes of production And base their sustainability on strong internationalization strategies. Some foreign companies have also come into force in the Spanish market, which base their strength on the importation of important cheeses. These companies are large food companies and, also, some specialists, mainly French and Italian, who are specialized in some particular types of cheeses. The first company in the sector records a production of 112,000 tons per year, while the second reaches 42,850 tons, the third round is 38,500 tons, the fourth is 37,100 tons and the fifth is over 25,000 tons. Between another 10,000 and 24,000 tons per year there are nine other operators. Distribution brands have acquired significant importance in this market and account for 47.9% of all volume sales in the free service and 39.6% in value. Obviously, in the retail sales, these percentages are much lower and remain at 19.7% in volume and 17.8% in value. In the case of cottage cheese, the white brands control 62.3% of all sales in volume and in the import cheeses they reach 66.4%.


The trade balance of cheeses is very unfavorable for our country, since imports almost tripled exports. Thus, during 2014, some 247,110 tonnes of cheese were imported, worth almost 920.1 million euros, while exports slightly exceeded 74,990 tonnes and were close to 350.4 million euros. Imports come from virtually all other European Union countries, most notably France and Germany. Only 500 tonnes of other cheeses, worth € 4.3 million, originated outside the Community market. In the case of exports, other European countries are also the main destination markets, although 4,590 tonnes of fresh cheeses and 10,550 tonnes of other cheeses went to third countries. Imports recorded a year-on-year decline of 0.5%, although in value they grew by almost 2%. Exports, on the other hand, increased by 15.2% in volume and 18.8% in value. Among imported consignments, the most imported is that of other cheeses, with 139,559 tonnes and a little less than 587.4 million euros. Fresh cheese (70,540 tonnes and 188,7 million euro), grated or powdered cheese (18,630 tonnes and 76,7 million euro) and processed cheeses (18,390 tonnes and 67,3 million euro) are listed below. Among exports, other cheeses (33,990 tonnes and 203 million euros), followed by fresh cheeses (33,770 tonnes and 118,2 million euros), processed cheeses (3,700 tonnes and 14,7 million euros) ) And grated or powdered cheese (3,530 tonnes and 14,4 million euro).
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Montse Gonzalez