When we travel to the North of the Spanish province of Extremadura, we can find a region called La Vera, where the spice that is finding an increasingly important position in the domestic and international markets is grown: Pimentón de La Vera (paprika).
Nowadays we still use traditional procedures in the elaboration of this type of paprika. Its powdery look, powerful red colour, delicate and special aroma and flavours of wood smoke make it a unique spice. This paprika’s specificities enabled it to obtain the Denominaton of Protected Origin (known in Spanish as DOP) qualification. This distinction recognises the differentiated quality of this product, due to the geographical area where its raw materials grow and where the elaboration process takes place, as well as the influence of the human factor that intervenes.
There are currently 16 factories that make and sell paprika in the area, as well as 417 farmers. It is remarkable that the Regulating Council of the DOP attends promotional forums, national events such as Madrid Fusión, Salón Gourmet, Barcelona Food Fair and A Coruña Food Forum; and also international such as Cibus Fair in Parma, Anuga in Cologne, Speciality & Fine Food Fair in England, among others. The promotion that the Regulating Council carries out is very important for the visibility of the firms that sell Pimentón de La Vera.
Internationalization strategy of Pimentón de La Vera
The internationalisation strategy that paprika companies generally use is direct export. They frequently attend international fairs where they get in touch with potential clients and distributors. Besides this, the commercial missions organized by both the Spanish Government and the Chambers of Commerce, institutional organs such as FIAB (Spanish Federation of Beverage and Food Industries), as well as Spanish Embassies in other countries, among others, are also a very common way of networking and increasing their presence abroad.
As far as Pimentón de La Vera’s sales are concerned, the production mainly goes to the domestic market (see Figure 1.1). Sales in Spain went down between 2005 to 2010 due to an increase of imports of Peruvian and Chinese dried tomatoes. From then onwards, there was a slight catch up until in 2013 they reached higher levels than in 2005 (see Figure 1.2.). As for the exports, they increased from 2005 onwards. The EU sales are higher than those taking place outside, although both grew significantly until 2015 (see Figure 1.3.). Exports represent a lower percentage of total sales if we compare them to domestic sales. However, exports are consolidating in countries within the EU and outside: Latin America, USA, among others.
The future of the paprika sector
Currently, the paprika sector keeps working on improving the whole process of obtaining paprika. As for its international trade, exports have grown and the same trend is expected for future years. There has been a significant increase in lower-format packaging, targeting new consumers and new foreign markets. The new consumption niches continuously motivate and encourage entrepreneurs to focus on making the unique products available to consumers, products that adapt to the necessary requirements to open new markets.