The meat industry represents a key point in the Spanish food industry, based mainly on pork that reaches up to 61.5% of the 5,593,283 tons produced annually. But in 2013, this production broke the growth trend that had been going on since 2009, 0.7% less than in 2012, which seems to be maintained during the current year.
This has been derived from certain problems that have recently arisen that have affected export barriers and trade agreements such as those caused by outbreaks of certain diseases, Swine Epidemiological Diarrhea (PED) in the United States, or the closure of the Russian market. In the first eight months of the year, exports of pigs from the EU have fallen by 9.2% and have presented a deficit of 522,500 tonnes.
For this reason, the market has to be reoriented and directed to cover the new demands and demands of the sector and the consumer, adapting to the guidelines imposed by the world market. The future focuses on the incorporation of new processing techniques, improvement of food safety and business management, obtaining new products that require more and more technification and that have to meet higher demands related to animal welfare and climate change and emissions.
Among the main requirements faced by the sector are the increasingly pronounced tendency to reduce antibiotics in pig production, even eliminating their use entirely in these animals without affecting the welfare of the animal and the quality of the product without a higher cost , as well as the entry into force of the cessation of castration in pigs that tends to seek alternatives that improve the fat infiltration and the productive and sanitary performance of the animal.
On the other hand, the sectorial chain of the production of fresh meat and processed meat also suffers the demands of the commercial distribution that is the one that has the direct contact with the consumers. In this sense, innovation has to focus mainly on the search for new technologies in the field of food processing, such as the development of bags for salting / smoked foods, but also in the conservation and determination of this state of fresh meat increasingly demanded by the consumer, through the development of new modeling protocols or new packaging and preservation systems that guarantee a lengthening of the useful life.
In short, the future of the sector lies in the development of innovation projects that can meet these needs and allow entry into new markets in which to be competitive. For this, it is necessary a good I + D + i management that relies on the funding opportunities offered by certain Organizations for the development of individual and collaborative projects, among which are the lines offered by the CDTI at the national and the Horizon2020 and Eureka programs at European and international level.