12 February 2004
NEW YORK – Spanish food companies should exploit a great opportunity to popularise the Mediterranen diet in the United States, the Agriculture Minister said Thursday.
Spanish Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Cañete, who was in the United States for the launch of a promotional campaign for Spanish food products, said the U.S. offered a great chance for futher expansion.
“This is the start of some permanent campaigns for penetrating this market, where there are possibilities for growth, where the Mediterranean diet has possibilities for expansion and where wine consumption is still low,” Arias told reporters.
More than a thousand New Yorkers were expected to attend a ceremony for the presentation of Spanish wines and food products.
The event follows a Tuesday night dinner that Sergi Arola, Spain’s top chef in 2003, and Jose Ramon Andres, highly regarded in the United States, prepared for more than 200 North American food experts and professionals.
Speaking in reference to Spanish olive oil, the minister said: “We have to wage a great battle, so that Spain recovers its position as the world’s top producer, in terms of quantity and quality.”
Sixty-six percent of the virgin olive oil imported by the United States between January-November 2003 came from Italy, 20 percent from Spain and the rest from Turkey, Greece and Tunisia, according to Spain’s trade office in New York.
Spanish wine is becoming more prevalent and accepted in U.S. restaurants and stores, but still ranks fourth in terms of the total value imported, trailing France, Italy and Australia.
Chile, meanwhile, surpasses Spain in the volume of wine it exports to the U.S.
Between January and November of last year, however, Spain recorded a five percent increase in comparison with 2002 in both the value of wine sold (EUR 1.13 million) and volume (3.1 million cases).
Sixty-five percent of the olives consumed in the United States during that period came from Spain, while clementines continued to gain in popularity among U.S. consumers, with an export volume of 54,000 tonnes and revenue totaling EUR 67 million during the 2002-2003 campaign.
Among Spain’s food products, cheese has had one of the biggest impacts on the U.S. market, with the value of imports totaling EUR 11 million between January and November, 42 percent more than in the same period the previous year.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news