Juan Manuel Vieites Baptista de Sousa is more optimistic than ever about Expoconser’s excellent reception in both the national and international markets. Doctor in Chemical Sciences, Director General of the National Technical Centre for the Conservation of Fishery Products (CECOPESCA), Secretary General of the National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish (ANFACO) and President of EUROATUN, among other positions, Vieites stresses that the next edition of Expoconser will have its sights set on innovation and internationalisation, as well as on meeting the needs of an increasingly informed and demanding consumer.
What will the visitor find at Expoconser?
Gastronomy and innovation will once again define the next edition of Alimentaria, and Expoconser, which is consolidating itself as a point of reference for the canning industry, will not be oblivious to this trend. The industry’s great international prestige makes Spain the best place to host this show, which is committed to internationalisation, gastronomy and innovation. At Expoconser, national and international professional visitors will be able to find a wide variety of canned and prepared food products. Canned fish and seafood, as well as vegetables, fruit and meat, will once again play a leading role.
Innovation will play a key role. In what sense?
Innovation is becoming a key factor in the canning sector, so companies are looking to offer product ranges adapted to new consumer habits to meet the needs of today’s buyers.
The companies present at the show work every day to satisfy consumer demand, developing new food products more suited to new consumption habits and seeking to apply new technologies. The aim is to satisfy the demand of the different international markets, preparing these foods adapted to the taste and format that the market demands and the consumer requests.
Expoconser is one of Alimentaria’s historic shows. How has the offer evolved over the last few years?
The recognition of the canning industry as key to the food and beverage sector is reflected in the importance of this show since the beginning of Alimentaria. Edition after edition, Expoconser has adapted to the trends and needs of the moment with the aim of presenting the latest innovations in preserved, smoked, salted, marinated and pre-cooked foods.
Has the demand of the customer, more aware, more gourmet, improved the canning offer? Could it be said that it is now of higher quality, more varied, more natural?
Spain is one of the largest producers of canned food in the world, internationally recognised for the variety and quality of its products due to the export character of the Spanish canning industry, present in the markets of the five continents.
The customer is always extremely demanding with the quality of the products. In fact, this is one of the values for which our offer is so appreciated. Currently, consumer demands are incorporating new parameters that require the adaptation of the offer, such as the incorporation of convenience packaging (ready to eat, or ready to cook), greater variety in recipes / preparations, development of products with attention to health aspects … all this always with the highest quality and attention to aspects related to food safety.
What are the future challenges for the canning sector?
Our industrial fabric has made a great effort to position its products on the market, responding to rigorous standards of quality, food safety and traceability, without forgetting the aspects of sustainability and social responsibility. We are working to adapt to the needs of the consumer in less time and to achieve greater interaction with them.
To this end, innovation will be fundamental both at the product level and in the optimization of production processes. One of the main challenges is automation and digitalization, aligning with Industry 4.0.
On the other hand, the biotechnological aspects linked to food safety, sustainability and health continue to be fundamental for the sector.
The Spanish canning industry is very powerful internationally. Is it expected that exports will continue to grow at a good pace?
Spanish exports of canned foods and other preparations have been on a growing trend in recent years, reaching an export value of more than 4.5 billion euros in 2018. Over the last five years, exports have increased by 23%.
The canned and prepared vegetables and legumes sector is the one with the highest weight over the whole, representing 38%, followed by canned and prepared fruits (27%), canned and prepared fish and seafood (22%) and canned and prepared meat (13%). The results for the first five months of 2019 support the above, an increase in exports by 3% in value compared to the same period in 2018.
What are the star products of the Spanish canning industry in the international market?
The main product exported by canned and prepared food companies in Spain is olives, followed by canned tuna. For this reason, the companies of these two types of products are those that will occupy the most square metres of exhibition space at Expoconser 2020.
Why should you be at Expoconser, whether you are an exhibitor or a visitor?
It is an example of the great commitment of the canning industry to internationalisation, quality and the high added value of its products in response to consumer demands. This is why this show is the best place to show and discover the latest canned and semi-preserved products within Alimentaria.