Food and Beverage
Innovation in the food and beverage industry, one of the main sectors of the economy in our country, invariably involves biotechnological innovation. This ranges from producing new, healthier foods to having better control over quality and safety throughout distribution and consumption.
The food and beverage industry is the main manufacturing activity in the European Union, with turnover over €1.1 trillion, making up 13.8% of all citizens’ consumption (Data & Trends, EU Food & Drink Industry 2018). With 294,000 total companies (95.3% SMEs), this industry employs 4.57 million people. In this industry, 48.1% of all turnover and 61.3% of all employment is from SMEs.
The Spanish food and beverage industry is ranked fifth in the EU in volume and is the top-grossing branch of the country’s industrial sector, with production value topping €113 billion (INE 2017). Spain has more than 31,000 companies in the food and beverage sector, with 496,200 employees.
Biotechnology makes it possible to create new foods that are healthier or more attractive to consumers. Science even allows us to design foods to address consumers’ specific medical needs (functional foods and nutraceuticals).
And, moving along the production chain, biotechnology also significantly improves the transformation industry, helping develop new ferments, enzymes and food ingredients that make processes more effective and have less impact on the environment.
Biotechnology also makes a significant contribution to the last two links in the food and beverage value chain, distribution and consumers. This is thanks to the powerful diagnostic and monitoring tools developed to detect even tiny amounts of toxins and contaminants, helping ensure people’s health and safety.
More than 50 Asebio members do research and development in the food and beverage sector, one third of which work in animal nutrition and the rest in areas associated with human nutrition (functional foods, new nutrients, food safety, etc.).
Spain stands out for its top-notch research in this area, however the studies carried out highlight that in technology transfer we are still behind other countries around us. Asebio is working on a series of measures to better promote innovation in the agrifood sector.