The professional career of Javier Robles González, president of Interlact, has been linked to Danone for more than 40 years, sixteen of them as president of the company. Currently, he holds the position of Honorary President of Danone, which keeps him linked to the dairy sector, an industry in constant innovation whose health has been repeatedly threatened by various factors, from new consumer habits to certain sector policies. Nevertheless, Robles stresses that the dairy sector is in excellent health, which is reflected in the “great line of exposure to the world” that Interlact is and has been since its inception.
Can it be said that Interlact is a great showcase for an industry that knows how to take advantage of such a healthy food as dairy?
It is well known the innovation capacity of the dairy industry in all its categories from a raw material such as milk, considered one of the most complete foods to which the human being has managed to adapt in its development as a species. Interlact is the great exhibition line to the world in which you can visualize and show all the offer that this industry makes available to the consumer, the result of the performance of a sector always at the forefront in offering health and welfare to our society.
How can the work of the dairy sector, which combines tradition and craftsmanship with technological and nutritional advances, be visualized in Interlact?
The visitor will find an attractive universe resulting from the diversity of our geography, climate, lands and people, which provide a high quality raw material that translates into milks of different species and with nuances in each of them. This diversity is the basis for this industry to develop differentiated and differential dairy products in all its categories.
In addition to this expression of the innovation and differentiation capacity of the dairy industry, visitors will be able to verify in situ the high standards in services for the management, marketing and distribution of its products applying the most advanced information technology.
The dairy industry is always in trouble and always gets ahead. How do you manage that?
I would say that there are two main reasons for this. On the one hand, the capacity of resilience demonstrated over centuries by all the players in each of the links in the dairy value chain in the face of changes in the cycle, sectoral policies and changes in consumer preferences and lifestyles. On the other hand, we must take into account that we are facing a sector that, in order to face this dynamic of incessant changes, has had to make its own the maxim of continuous improvement and constant search for excellence. Those of us who work in this sector know from our own experience that if we do the same thing and in the same way as the day before we would end up out of the market.
What is the future of the dairy sector?
With the above premises it is logical that we are optimistic in predicting the future of the dairy sector globally. The sector has shown that despite the bad omens announced by some false visionaries interested in the end of milk quotas in 2015, this sector has gone from producing just under 6 million tonnes of cow’s milk in 2014 to over 7 million tonnes in 2018. To this must be added another million tonnes of sheep’s and goat’s milk, which has allowed investments and increases in production of all types of dairy products and substantial growth in the external market, despite a stagnation in internal consumption that is already showing signs of some recovery.
What are the key international markets for the dairy sector in Spain?
The increase in the volume of total exports from the Spanish dairy sector has doubled over the last decade, with cheese exports showing the greatest growth with figures of 250%, rising from less than 40,000 tonnes in 2010 to over 100,000 tonnes in 2018.
The United States has become the main destination market for our cheeses, followed by France, Italy, Portugal and Germany. This is undoubtedly a success story that we hope will not fall victim in the future to the protectionist policies that are being imposed throughout the world.