Olga Martínez, communications and public affairs manager at Wrigley, was recently appointed head of the new association PRODULCE.
Speaking exclusively to ConfectioneryNews.com, Martinez said the priorities for PRODULCE in its first year would be to become a reference for the Spanish confectionery industry in the European Union and promote the national image of sweets, chewing-gum, chocolate and cocoa products, biscuits, turron and marzipans and fine bakery wares.
“Through PRODULCE we would like to strengthen the image of each one of the categories,” she said.
She pointed to a 2008 survey from Nielsen that identified three areas of innovation in food that applied to the Spanish confectionery sector: health and personal care, comfort and quality of life and micro-targets.
“The hot topics of confectionery sector in Spanish media during 2011 were, like most of past years, health and nutrition in different products,” she said.
“The industry has an active and responsible role in society, and it is committed to providing healthy alternatives and continuously improving profile nutritional products,” she added.
Innovate to stand out
According to Martinez, the challenges for the PRODULCE in the next year would be plentiful.
“There are several important elements to consider at the moment and in the short term because of the impact on the enterprises’ competitiveness: exports, health and nutrition, corporate social responsibility, adapting to the new legislative framework, and the commitment of improvements in terms of food safety, nutrition and sustainability,“ she said.
“It is also important to keep promoting innovation as a main way to adapt our industries to the changing demands of today's consumers and to differentiate our offer compared to other markets,” she added.
Supports sugar quota abolition
The European Commission released its proposals for CAP reforms on 12 October 2011, which included abolishing a sugar quota that is deemed prejudicial to manufacturers.
Asked what stance her organisation would take on European sugar reform, Martinez said: “PRODULCE is an active member of Caobisco (Association of the Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries) and therefore we assumed their positions on such issues as ours.”
Caoobisco has welcomed the abolition of the sugar quota as of 2015 as it believes it will create a more competitive EU sugar market while ensuring greater security of supply for sugar users.
It is now up to the European Parliament and the Council to approve the regulations, which is expected by the end of 2013. If all goes to plan, the CAP reforms would take effect on the 1 January 2014.