Food & Drink

Turning a passion for gastronomy into business


One of the biggest food clusters in Europe

Over 2,478 companies in Catalonia constitute one of Europe’s largest food clusters. With 19.8% of the industrial turnover, the food & drink sector is Catalonia’s most important industry, employing 17.9%of the workforce, and generating a turnover of over €25bn. The Catalan food & drink sector represents 23.7% of the Spanish Food & Drink turnover. 

With a good combination of SME’s and some large Catalan firms and international firms such as Danone, Cargill or Nestlé, Catalonia provides critical mass and talent at all stages of the value chain, as well as cost-effective qualified professionals. We are home to one of the world’s most important food & drink trade fairs, Alimentaria, the leading packaging fair Hispack and Bta., the food industry equipment & technology fair.

Dynamic and open to the world

Top exporter: With €8,010m in exports, €5,918m in imports (2016), and a positive trade balance since 2009, the Catalan food industry concentrates 28.5% of Spanish total food exports and is home to 29.8% of the regularly exporting companies of the Spanish food sector. Accounting for almost 40% of the total, meat processing and preserving and meat products are the strongest exporting subsectors, followed by others such as manufacture of vegetables and wine elaboration.

First destination for foreign investment: FDI into Catalonia is almost 1/3 of the Spanish sector (2012–2016) in terms of projects (29.2%), capital investment (34.7%) and jobs created (38%). 21 FDI projects were recorded in Catalonia, between 2012 and 2016, according to FDI Markets data. These projects represent a total capital investment of €504.03M, and 2,075 jobs created. Manufacturing is the main business activity by capital investment of the food & drink sector, followed by business services and logistics, distribution & transport. When compared to Western Europe, Catalonia received 3.2% of Food & Drink projects, 3.26% of CAPEX and 4.5% jobs created.

Number 1 in gastronomy, creativity and innovation

Gastronomy is big in Catalonia with 50 restaurants having Michelin stars, thanks to a dynamic blend of tradition and innovation. Ferran and Albert Adrià, the Roca Brothers or Carme Ruscalleda, to name just a few, put Catalonia on the worldwide culinary map.The gourmet food sector is growing rapidly with high gastronomy, organized food service, and local and international consumers searching for unique, quality products. Top research centres as IRTA, CTNS, Alicia, among others, ensure that Catalonia stays ahead in food innovation.

Find the whole value chain in Catalonia

Catalonia is home to food clusters representing the main subsectors and the whole value chain of the food and drink industry: 

  • Meat Cluster – Innovac: Spain is the fourth world producer of processed pork. Catalonia produces ca 1.6 MT of processed pork per year (44% of Spanish pork production) 71% of Spanish exports are generated in Catalonia. 
  • Wine & Cava Cluster - Innovi: Catalonia is home to around 10,000 winegrowers and some 600 wine cellars. There are 12 DOs (Guarantee of Origin), producing a varied and versatile range of wines. Torres, Codorniu and Freixenet are major Catalan companies and exporters in the sector. 
  • Compound Feed – ASFAC: Catalonia produces 4.3% of the EU compound feed production and 20% of Catalan feed production is exported. 
  • Olive Oil, Nuts and Fresh Fruit are Mediterranean products, traditionally grown, industrialized and exported from Catalonia. 
  • Aquiculture
  • Gourmet Products 
  • Nutrition & Health Cluster – AINS 
  • Food Packaging & Machinery 
  • Food Service Cluster gathers main suppliers, distributors, specialized logistic companies and organized demand such as Areas, Sehrs or The EatOut Group.

The Catalan food & drink sector, top in new trends

Barcelona-Catalonia offer a sophisticated market, the whole food and drink value chain, top research centers, talent and know-how for Food & Drink investments projects. Three new trends have an impact on the Catalan sector: functional, gourmet and healthier food, new technologies applied to food industry and smart logistics.

  • Functional, organic, allergy-free and healthier foods
    With the European functional food market forecasted to grow to €43bn by 2017, local initiatives such as the collaboration between the pharma and the food industry in Catalonia, work in the Catalan market’s favour. Organic food is an emerging market in Spain and Catalonia. Spain, in general, is one of the main exporters in Europe and Catalonia itself has had its own certifying agency, the CCPAE, since 1994. There are 2,724 ecological food production businesses in Catalonia and over 120,000 ha. of land devoted to organic food production. 23% of Catalan ecological food sales are exports to the EU. A further 12% is exported to the rest of the World. Catalonia hosts the most developed allergen-free market and food industry in Europe.
  • New Technologies applied to the food industry
    IT is being applied to the Food & Drink sector aimed at simplifying the shopping process, helping diet planning and catering for special needs or sharing economy initiatives. New trends as virtual shopping walls, mobile in-store check-outs, smart fridges, e-commerce, food apps, are already a reality in Catalonia. Industry 4.0, 3Dprinting or the additive industry , and IoT are being applied in Catalan industries thanks to the collaboration with our top ICT sector. Top international venues like the Wobile World Congress or the IoT World Congress have chosen Barcelona thanks to our innovative ecosystem, and applicability in Catalan industrial sectors.
  • Smart logistics
    International food and drink companies are choosing Catalonia for their European Logistics Hubs, thanks to our strategic location in the south of Europe, the Ports of Barcelona and Tarragona, intermodal infrastructure, Barcelona International Airport, and specialized food & drinks logistics companies.

Feel free to contact us for further information

Passeig de Gràcia, 129


Tel: (+34) 934767287

Catalonia has all the ingredients to build your food & drink investment, as well as an innovative food culture to make it grow.

A major European food cluster

2,478 food companies

€25bn in sales

19.8% of Catalan industrial turnover;

17.9% of Catalan employment

Nestle manufactures Dolce Gusto at its factory in Girona

Bernard Meunier. General Manager, Nestlé España.

With innovation, investment and great people, you’ve got all the right ingredients for success.

Download this information