The production of frozen vegetables in Spain surpassed 571,400 tonnes in 2014, a significant year-on-year increase of 25.4%, well above the 3.9% of the previous year. Taking into account their volumes, the main item was broccoli, with about 103,280 tonnes (+ 62.6%), followed by peas, with 89,910 tonnes (+ 27.7%), green beans, with 68,420 tonnes ( + 30.6%), peppers with 59,065 tonnes (+ 13.6%), spinach, with 38,630 tonnes (+ 40.5%), onions, with 25,720 tonnes (+ 16.7%), potatoes, with 21,880 tonnes (+ 43.8%), peppers, with 21,465 tonnes (-29.9%), courgettes, with 16,910 tonnes (-4.7%) and cauliflowers, with 16,750 tonnes (-13.8%). Below these are maize, with about 12,990 tonnes (+ 18.7%), aubergines, with 9,520 tonnes (+ 3.2%), beans, with 6,780 tonnes (+ 80.8%), Artichokes, with 5,530 tonnes (+ 1,1%) and mushrooms, with 465 tonnes (+ 7.9%). Other frozen vegetables represent the remaining 27,170 tonnes (+ 182.3%). The national market shows hardly any signs of dynamism, so exports are an essential resource to promote the dynamism of the sector. During 2014, domestic sales fell 1.3% in volume and 0.4% in value. Among the frozen vegetables, the main items in the Spanish market are green beans, followed by peas and spinach. Regarding the mixtures, the salads accounted for 52.3% of all sales in volume and 43.7% in value, while the menestras represent the remaining 47.7% and 56.3%.


The frozen vegetable business sector is in the hands of a few large groups that base their future strategies on internationalization, as the domestic market is unable to absorb the volumes of production achieved. The main company in the sector reaches a production volume of 250,000 tons, with a turnover of 236 million euros, of which 36.6% is obtained from exports. The second operator reaches 105,000 tonnes, with sales of 105 million euros (65% from the foreign market) and the third round is 78,970 tonnes and almost 71 million euros (60% from sales outside our borders) . At European level, concentration movements are even more important. During last year, the merger of two of the largest European groups was recorded, creating a business giant with a production of 805,000 tonnes and sales of 815 million euros. This large group has twenty productive plants, of which two are in our country. Distribution brands are very important in this market and control 88.8% of all volume sales and 77.6% in value. In the case of frozen prefried potatoes, these percentages increase to 90.8% of the total in volume and 81.7% in value.


Exports are an essential factor for the maintenance of the current production levels of the Spanish frozen vegetable sector. During 2014 these exports grew 28.2% in volume, reaching almost 302,700 tons. The main export is broccoli, with 75,860 tonnes and a year-on-year increase of 23.9%. The exports of peppers, with 45,520 tonnes (+ 25,3%), peas, with 30,625 tonnes (-6%), spinach, with 17,255 tonnes (+ 25,6%), courgettes, 11.8%) and onions, with 11,780 tonnes (+ 45.2%). It should be noted that this good export performance is registered in a year conditioned by the effects of the Russian veto. The European Union countries appear as the main destination markets for frozen Spanish vegetables, although shipments to North Africa and the Middle East are becoming increasingly important. The first group in the sector exports about 83 million euros per year, while the second group reaches 68.2 million euros, the third is 58.8 million euros, the fourth reaches 42.5 million euros and The fifth is over 13 million euros.

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Montse Gonzalez