Spain ripe for gluten-free entrants, says Welsh contingent

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Burts Biscuits & Cakes are among the companies that will be showcasing its products in Spain. Pic/Burts Biscuits & Cakes
Burts Biscuits & Cakes are among the companies that will be showcasing its products in Spain. Pic/Burts Biscuits & Cakes

Related tags: Gluten-free baked goods, Bread, Gluten-free diet, Baking

The Welsh Government is taking domestic companies including bakers on a trade mission to Madrid, Spain, in an effort to grow its F&B industry by 30% by 2020.

The companies, ranging from bakers to brewers and meat processors, will be able to showcase their products from November 15 to 17 to a host of Spanish buyers and distributors, in order to secure new business.

The delegates are scheduled to attend a market briefing and trade networking event, as well as go on store visits.

Gluten-free demand

Iain Lewis from Ultrapharm, a Pontypool-based company that specializes in gluten-free baked goods, including breads, rolls, flat breads and muffins, said: “The trip is a great opportunity to get to know the Spanish market and meet key people within the industry there.

“We are eager to build on the current demand for gluten-free products and entering the Spanish market will be key to doing that.”

The trade visit will allow Samosa Co the opportunity to see the Spanish market’s reaction to its products, which include readymeals, pickles, chutneys, soups and snacks like the Gluten Free Mixed Vegetable Baked Samosa.

Sokhy Sandhu, MD of Samosa Co, told BakeryAndSnacks that “Spain is a new market for us so we just want to test out the waters. If we see an interest, we have given ourselves a two year window to establish a presence in the country.”

Other companies on the trade mission include Peter's Food Service, 9BAR and Burts Biscuits & Cakes Ltd, among others.

Food and Drink Wales Infographics
Infographic: Food and Drink Wales

Overarching growth strategy

Lesley Griffiths AM, cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, said: “With its growing economy and a population of almost 50 million, countries like Spain are an essential target for our producers as we strive to hit our ambitious target of growing the industry 30% by the year 2020.

This is part of the country’s Food Strategy that expects to see the sector be worth £7bn ($8.8bn) within the next four years.

"Wales is rapidly gaining a credible, national and international reputation for its innovative food and drink and hospitality sector,”​ said Elin Jones AM, minister for rural affairs in the forward of Food For Wales, Food From Wales 2010-2020 report.

According to the report, consumers are increasingly demanding more socially and environmentally responsible food products as well as greater value and variety in what they consume.

Reinforcing ties

Currently, Spain is the third largest export market for Wales. Food and Drink Wales, the body leading the trade development visit, is hoping the exercise will further strengthen trade between the countries.

They maintained that Spanish buyers are looking to the UK for both traditional and innovative products. While the focus is on natural, organic and free-from product categories, the bakery and snacks sectors are still buoyant in the Spanish market.

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