Andalusia: An Organic Powerhouse in Spain
Spain ranks seventh in Europe in terms of market volume and fourth in the world in terms of land allocated for organic farming. Companies in Andalusia are doing their part.
Spain’s organic producers are working overtime to keep up with a growing market. According to Ecovalia’s Annual Report on National Organic Production, Spain ranks seventh in Europe in terms of market volume and fourth in the world in terms of land allocated for organic farming.
Companies in southern Spain are doing their part, leveraging the climate and local conditions to produce delicious foods using environmentally-friendly practices and export them around the world.
Today we’ll be taking a closer look at three companies, experts in organic olives, extra virgin olive oil, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and pickled products.
Organic olive oils from Spain with a twist
Organic Spain Foods (OSF) is based in Seville and specializes in organic olives and olive oil. After five generations successfully led the company locally, they eventually made the decision to expand their footprint beyond Spain about four years ago.
There’s notable demand for their high-quality products, the most popular of which is La Trajana extra virgin organic olive oil, aromatized with a range of herbs.
OSF is fully committed to sustainability and made the switch from conventional over to organic farming back in 2016. In their olive groves, in addition to eliminating the use of chemical products and pesticides, the company uses environmentally-friendly methods.
This includes placing traps to catch olive fruit flies instead of using insecticides and grazing animals to clear up weeds growing in the groves instead of using herbicides. Their commitment is also visible in their packaging as they choose recyclable options, such as glass as opposed to plastic.
For OSF, exports are extremely important, accounting for approximately 90% of their total sales. While the US is by far their main destination, the company has also been working to open up markets in the European Union and the Middle East. Currently, it has a very important project under way in Japan, though the details are still under wraps.
When they’re not busy expanding into new countries, Organic Spain Foods is focused on innovation. According to Fernando Camacho, the company’s CEO, “We believe we must be continuously adapting so as to meet consumers’ changing needs and preferences.”
Along these lines, the company has launched several interesting products in recent years. In 2018, they created a line of five aromatic olive oils, and in 2019 they added another four to offer consumers unique flavored oils including curry, basil, garlic and lemon. Just this year they created an organic hummus, made from their own chickpeas and available in various flavors, including cilantro and roasted red pepper.
As for the future, Camacho describes the sector as “constantly changing,” as companies invest time and resources to create products that meet consumer preferences. That group increasingly includes people in Spain, and he expects the sector will continue to grow domestically in the coming years.
Extraordinary organic olive oils from Andalusia
For family-run Cortijo Espíritu Santo, based in Jaén, producing a high-quality organic extra virgin olive oil is second nature. With 100 hectares of mainly Picual olives, they are equally committed to using environmentally-friendly techniques to avoid erosion and preserve the local biodiversity.
The company has several products in its organic line, including an extraordinary special edition Arbequina olive oil as well as a special edition signature coupage Picual oil, of which there are only around 1,000 bottles. The family is well aware of the importance of innovation and standing out in the marketplace and strives to do this while offering a healthy product that respects the environment.
An organic, healthy, on-the-go snack from Andalusia
Another leading organic company in the south of Spain is Natural Crunch, based in Almería. Created in 2011 following years of research and innovation at the city’s local university, their most popular product is called Vitasnacks.
For Natural Crunch, “innovation is everything,” according to Saray García, the company’s export manager, and it formed the basis for the creation of Vitasnacks, which are dehydrated organic fruits and vegetables.
There are no additives or chemicals, with the result that they maintain their nutritional value. The extensive range includes everything from blueberries, persimmon and strawberries to pumpkin, beetroot and purple carrot. New products in the works include organic gluten-free muesli and a line of dressings.
In addition to its commitment to producing healthy foods, Natural Crunch is also committed to sustainability. To that end they use cardboard pallets, 60% of their packages are biodegradable, and they rely on renewable energies, from recycled water to solar panels.
Exports are also important for this company, which sends 70% of production out of Spain, primarily to England, Germany and Switzerland.
As for where the sector is headed, Garcia says “There’s every indication that consumers are looking to take better care of themselves by eating foods without fat, chemicals and sugar. With that in mind, the future looks promising for products like ours which allow people to eat healthy, any time, anywhere.”
Organic, pickled capers and more from Spain
For Luxeapers, which is also based in Almeria and has been in business since 2008, quality, tradition and innovation are the pillars on which the company is built. They’re also entirely committed to developing, expanding and optimizing products and formats in line with the market’s needs.
With extensive facilities expanding over 10,000 square meters and equipped with the latest technology, the company exports over 100 countries around the world and reports sales of around 12 million euros.
Luxeapers specializes in organic pickled products, such as jalapeños, olives, garlic cloves, scallions and capers.
There’s no limit to future growth in Spain’s organic sector, and companies in the southern region of Andalusia account for the largest organic acreage in the country. As long as they continue to maintain their commitment to quality, innovation and the environment, Spain’s organic scene overall will continue to thrive, both at home and abroad.
Text: Samara Kamenecka/@ICEX