The eighth Meat Industry Barometer presents the situation of the sector and the business situation.
Last November, ANICE and Cajamar presented the eighth Spanish Meat Industry Barometer, an instrument of unquestionable general interest to know the evolution and perspectives of this important industrial sector.
The results of this new edition reflect the complex situation that the sector is going through, as a consequence of the confluence of numerous negative factors such as the increase in the price of raw materials, the continuous increase in energy costs and remaining inputs, and inflation. These factors have increased the production costs of the companies, as 87.3% of the businessmen have stated.
This has resulted in a decline in the Spanish Meat Industry Sentiment Index (ISICE), with respect to the second half of 2021. This was stated by the Secretary General of ANICE, Miguel Huerta, during the presentation, noting that "this difficult situation is taking its toll on us in the form of the disappearance of our industrial fabric, with what this implies in terms of loss of activity and future for the rural environment in which the meat industry is located", adding that "Spain is doomed to an abandoned and impoverished rural environment, if the sectors that give it life, such as the livestock-meat sector and the food industry, are not supported".
For his part, Cajamar's Commercial Director, Sergio Pérez, highlighted the work carried out by the Spanish meat sector and its importance within the productive fabric. "A sector made up of 2,800 companies, which directly employs more than 100,000 workers, represents a third of the total Spanish agri-food industry, and thanks to its internationalization strategy has become the world's fifth largest exporter of meat products."
For the first half of 2022, the Meat Industry Sentiment Index (ISICE) stands at 17.08 points, which indicates a positive assessment by the sector's agents, as a result of the increase in exports, although there has been a contraction with respect to the previous half-year, the result of the current economic situation, which is reflected in the main conclusions of the report.
87.3% of the surveyed businessmen have stated that their costs have increased in the first half of 2022, but 70.9% also fear that they will continue to increase. These data respond to the upward sentiment of inflation and the constant news of rising energy prices due to the increase in the price of gas and other operating costs. A situation that is suffocating farmers and industries, generating tremendous wear and tear and narrowing margins in all links.
Despite this difficult situation, ISICE continues to record positive figures derived from the increase in exports, which positions the industries as a powerful economic engine for the sector, according to 83.7% of the companies.
On the other hand, the industry is confident of maintaining employment and investments. More than a third of the companies have increased their workforce during the first half of 2022 and more than half have expressed their stability. These are very positive figures, which reveal that, despite the loss of profitability of the meat industry, due to the increase in raw materials and associated costs, the sector plans to maintain the workforce at a time of uncertainty and recession such as the present, making an extra effort.
The industry is also investing in sustainability and digitalization projects, as drivers of growth, something that would be boosted even more with the expected arrival of the PERTE, if these aids could be applied in a significant way in small and medium-sized companies in the meat sector.
A total of 78.3% of companies are investing in process digitalization technology, this being the area that has grown the most. In the area of sustainability, 72.7% of those surveyed indicated the incorporation of energy efficiency measures as the main option, closely followed by the implementation of renewable energies, with 69.1%.
These items reflect how investment policies in the meat industry are fundamentally focused on reducing operating costs and energy consumption, influenced by the sharp increase recorded in the last year.
As a living instrument, the Barometer always includes current issues of interest to the sector. In this edition, the Chain Law and EU Aid have been included, both with scarcely positive results.
In the case of the Chain Law, 55% of those surveyed said that it had not resolved the problem of trade relations, compared to 5.5% who said they were satisfied. As in the case of the Chain Act, more than half of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the regulatory framework for EU aid, a reflection of the high expectations that had been generated in companies by the constant news of the arrival of the Next Generation.
Similarly, 65.4% of the sample was of the opinion that EU aid funds are not reaching the meat sector, influenced in turn by the fact that in November the PERTE deadline opens, and in October it was still not known how the processing would be carried out. This uncertainty has given rise to doubts regarding their participation in this call for proposals.
In such an adverse context as the current one, the eighth edition of the barometer highlights the commitment of the meat industry to the production of food for society, its resilience, its capacity to continue to be an exporting power and its confidence in creating and maintaining employment in rural areas, protecting our industrial and cultural heritage.