Prodeca, the Catalan Food Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda, is currently organising the Catalan Food Festival Riyadh, a project in the Catalan Food initiative to promote and enhance the value of Catalan products in 17 strategic markets, with Catalan cuisine as the ambassador for Catalan products and agri-food companies.
The event also saw the unveiling of the Halal Catalunya brand, a new private certification initiative that will guarantee full traceability of halal products produced in Catalonia and will accompany the differentiation and excellence strategy for Catalan companies in the process of internationalisation in halal markets.
Catalonia is a leader in halal-certified companies and a benchmark in Spain for food and beverages certified with the halal guarantee seal. This seal, which is the issued by the certifier Halal Food Quality and accredited for all countries that require a halal certificate, will facilitate the export of Catalan halal products worldwide.
Catalonia is one of the most firmly committed countries to the halal guarantee and the agri-food sector is demonstrating its adaptability to new consumer segments while maintaining its origins and uniqueness.
Catalan Food Theme Night
The Catalan Food Festival Riyadh programme focuses on Catalan products and gastronomy, with different versions of bread and tomato as the iconic dish from the Catalan recipe book.
On Thursday night, the Catalan Food Theme Night was held in Riyadh, an event aimed at around a hundred attendees including chefs, sales managers from Saudi supermarkets, hotel and catering managers and the Saudi government authorities. Prodeca organised an exhibition area with more than 40 leading Catalan products already available in Saudi Arabia, and concluded with a dinner prepared by the chefs Rafel Múria and Noureddine Jalloul, inspired by the Catalan products in the country and adapted to the specifics of the Saudi market.
Saudi Arabia, the main importer of food from the European Union
Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of food from the European Union, accounting for almost 40 per cent of total global purchases. Sales of Catalan products exceeded 150 million euros in 2022. Saudi Arabia is the 22nd largest destination market for Catalan agri-food exports, the 11th largest outside the EU and the second largest in the Middle East (after the United Arab Emirates). In the last five years, sales of Catalan products have risen by more than 40% in value and nearly 300% in volume.
The main Catalan products exported to the Saudi market are fine food products (such as sweets, confectionery, honey, snacks, bread and pastries, nuts, vegetable juices, cheeses and broths), fruit (mainly pears and apples) and cereals and milled products.
In 2022, there were 182 exporting companies, 90% more than 10 years ago, representing 30% of the companies exporting to the Middle East (355 companies).