Much of the raw material from which spices and condiments are made in our country must be imported. The most important cases are pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, curry. It is estimated that some 58,700 tonnes are imported annually, valued at around 170 million euros. China, Iran and Peru are our main suppliers. As far as exports are concerned, it should be noted that they have grown very significantly in recent years and represent already 52% of the value of the whole market, around 148 million euros. This figure indicates a year-on-year increase of 3.5%. Paprika, with 54.4% of the total sold, and saffron, with 26.6%, constitute the two main products of this foreign trade.

The main destination markets are the United States (17% of the total); United Kingdom (10%) and Germany (9.5%). Many of the leading companies in the sector base their future strategies on internationalization. About 1 million tonnes of salt are exported annually, compared with imports of less than 117,000 tonnes. The main customer of Spanish salt exports is France, followed by Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Portugal. Spanish exports of sauces concentrate mainly on mayonnaise and ketchup. It is an external trade directed towards other countries of the European Union.

The total value of exports of sauces is around 200 million euros, compared to imports that surpass 100 million euros. Within these, mustard is the main reference imported, although in recent times the sauces for salads and for cooking register quite significant growth rates. The Spanish vinegar sector has opted in the last few years decisively for internationalization, since the demands of the domestic market are clearly insufficient to absorb the existing levels of production. Spanish exports of vinegar during 2014 reached 35 million liters, for an amount higher than 26.5 million euros. These figures show significant interannual increases of 9.5% in volume and 2.4% in value. The average price of the vinegars exported was 0.74 euros / liter.

The largest selling item was wine in bulk, with 19 million liters, for an amount close to 11 million euros, followed by packaged wine vinegars, with just under 10 million liters, but one Amount of 12 million euros. The main volume customer of Spanish vinegars was United Kingdom, with 24.1% of the total followed by France (20.7%), Italy (18.1%) and United States (12.1%). Given the value of exported items, the first place is occupied by the United States (7 million euros). Next are France (4.6 million euros) and the United Kingdom, with just under 4 million euros. Imports of vinegars for the Spanish market are around 10.5 million euros and 11 million liters. The main imported item is balsamic vinegars from Modena (Italy).

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Montse Gonzalez