Spanish Organic food (rice and lentils). Juan Manuel Sanz / © ICEX
The modernization of agricultural techniques and the development of the food industry that came in the wake of the industrial revolution led to enormous changes in the eating habits of Europeans, amongst both the growing urban populations and the fast-disappearing country-dwellers. Generally speaking, the diet of Europeans improved substantially, especially as from the second half of the 19th century.
During the 20th century, the new dietary recommendations helped change eating habits, regarding not only food selection but also the way in which food was produced. Agricultural progress based on mechanization, pesticides and artificial fertilizers as well as new plant varieties expanded crops, reducing the effort needed to produce them. However, it also led, in some cases, to a drop in food quality.
In reaction to what has been perceived as a loss of taste and nutritional quality in conventional foods and to the health and environmental risks created by food production, a movement began in the last quarter of the 20th century to promote organic farming.
Organic food is free from chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and in its fresh and processed forms is meeting a growing demand in markets which are becoming increasingly fragmented and specialized. Spanish farmers and the Spanish food industry are participating actively in these trends by stepping up the production of a wide range of organic foods - from animal fodder to olive oil, and including fruit and nuts, fresh meat, milk, eggs and honey.
However, the debate is still open as to whether organic foods offer greater nutritional value and authenticity. The development of certification and control techniques and rigorous work by the organizations responsible for putting these into place are the best guarantee for consumers of the nutritional quality and taste of all the different food products produced according to organic criteria.
List of food stores in Spain
List of food stores around the world
|Year||Value (thousands of €)|
20,171 is the total number of operators in the sector; 18,226 producers, 2,061 manufacturers.