Asevec: "In the next four years we could become the first European producer"

"Despite the current uncertainty, we're very optimistic about the future of frozen vegetables"

The forecasts for the Spanish frozen food industry remain optimistic, despite the impact that the increase in costs has on this sector. The general secretary of the Spanish Association of Frozen Vegetable Manufacturers (Asevec), Alvaro Aguilar, stated in an interview with Efeagro that they expected to produce 941,351 tons of frozen vegetables in 2022, i.e. almost 22,000 tons more than the 919,534 tons produced in 2021 and more than twice than the volume achieved in 2012 (438,732 tons).

"This year, growth has slowed compared to other years. However, we have to see how the year ends after this last quarter because of the current agronomic and economic situation."

"The rains and frost in spring and the hot summer have had an impact on the harvests in Spain. In addition, producers are more cautious about their products because of inflation and cost increases." In this context, he spoke about the strong increase in freight, seeds, plant health, wood, plastics, and energy prices in an industry that requires a lot of energy for the ultra-freezing of food.

"It's been the perfect storm. When we thought the pandemic was over, the war in Ukraine started, and now, despite the 'Iberian exception', the price of electricity is unbelievably high, when compared to three or four years ago."

Asevec represents eight companies that bring together 95% of the volume of frozen vegetables produced in Spain. It's a very concentrated sector, these firms have 21 ultra-freezing plants and four logistics centers spread across several autonomous communities, he added.

Its largest customers are European consumers, especially those in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. However, Spain also exports its frozen vegetables to the United States, Brazil, and China. In 2021, for example, the country exported 144,717 tons of broccoli, 101,447 tons of peppers, and 67,398 tons of peas.

Vegetables that have been ultra-frozen within a few hours of being harvested can have a better nutritional composition than fresh products, but the demand for frozen products in the national market is affected by the large supply of fresh vegetables, which is why sales are directed abroad, he stated,

"Despite the current uncertainty, we're very optimistic about the future of frozen vegetables," he added. "In the next four years we could become Europe's leading producer of frozen vegetables, a position that Belgium now holds, provided that costs and inflation stop increasing and the application of new tax burdens is delayed."



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