Trends for Spanish Food & Wine Producers and Restaurants in 2019
What is the future of food? How can we establish a sustainable balance between production, food and gastronomy in both the short and long term. Will there be a paradigm shift in the Spanish agri-food sector brought about by climate change? Is technology just one more ingredient in the food we eat?
These debates give rise to a virtually unlimited cascade of trends or, better said, hypotheses. From industries to farms, research centers, or even the media, there is no shortage of emerging theories that attempt to decipher the future and predict what our relationship will be to food in the coming years.
Trends in agriculture and livestock
New crops: science and research
The agriculture of the future seeks to unite two concepts: that of preserving traditional crops and of generating new approaches for the countryside, like making a commitment to new crops (quinoa is being grown in Andalusia, supplying part of the national and international demand for this product), or applying agrarian biotechnology to the development of new, more drought-resistant seeds, for example.
The fight against climate change
Agrarian, stockbreeding and fishing activity in Spain must play a fundamental role in combating the consequences of climate change. The agriculture of the future will be more respectful, more in line with the criteria espoused by organic production and, therefore, will constitute one more ally in the global fight against climate change.
Technology to improve efficiency and sustainability
Farms that rely on solar energy, drones used to control the vegetative cycle of grape vines or olive trees, the use of forestry biomass to generate clean energy, calculated systems programmed to carry out localized irrigation in areas that really need water so as to not waste a single drop... Technology available to Spanish farmers with two goals: to be more efficient and to steer agrarian activity towards energy efficiency.
Trends in the food industry
Export: adaptation to new markets
The Spanish agri-food industry has been a world leader in the export of its products for years now. It owes this success to the combination of having an ideal climate for agriculture and an innovative industry in terms of food transformation, traceability and logistics. The challenge now is continuing to grow its market share through plans to adapt its products to new demands and new markets.
This concept is one of the keys that open the doors to success. Innovation applied to the creation of healthier products, apt for consumers with food allergies or intolerances, or with demands related to respecting the environment. Innovation in the design and packaging of products, bringing together sustainability and aesthetics.
The Objectives for Sustainable Development set out by the United Nations add a new dimension to the term “sustainability,” which in recent years has been excessively reduced to a mere association with demonstrating respect for the environment. In actuality, talking about sustainable practices means offering solutions that respond to global challenges, like that of eradicating poverty and hunger, promoting a sustainable lifestyle, ensuring the availability and adequate management of water, fostering sustained and inclusive economic growth, working towards gender equality and promoting innovation. The agri-food industry and agrarian activity in Spain is rather advanced along these lines.
Trends in the restaurant industry
Organic, vegan, the rise in vegetable protein
This trend is already a reality and it will continue to grow in the near future. Consumers are always on the lookout for more restaurants where they can enjoy cuisine that is based on organic foods, functional foods, or those that are apt for people with intolerances, as well as menus where there is an important presence of vegetable protein (legumes, seaweed, fortified grains, nuts, seeds...)
Digitalization of management
Whether it’s a top, Michelin-starred restaurant or a local eatery or tapas bar, restaurants are businesses and, as such, must be profitable. One of the trends related to their management is the tendency towards greater digitalization, understood to be the implementation of systems to manage purveyors and buyers, reservations, customer service, staff scheduling, and the knowledge that is generated on a daily basis in a restaurant. The objective is to be more efficient, provide better service, improve upon customer and staff loyalty, and to become more profitable.
No to food waste
Another objective of the digitalization of restaurant management is to avoid wasting raw ingredients. Here, the economic reasons go hand in hand with more ethical ones. Restaurants can’t keep generating waste, and those restaurants that do take a stand against waste will gain a competitive advantage with regard to demanding consumers.
More information about purveyors
Customers not only want information about what they’re going to eat, but also where the food comes from. Restaurants should share information with their customers in a natural way about the origins of the food they are eating, whether it is organic or not, when it is in season, and even the producer’s name. That way everyone wins: the chef, the consumer and the farmer.
Text: Rodrigo García / @ICEX
Translation: Adrienne Smith/@ICEX