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The appetite of China predicts a rise in prices of Iberian ham in Spain

Companies of the Asian country begin to produce it with fresh meat imported from Spain to the growth of the interest of the population

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The appetite of China predicts a rise in prices of Iberian ham in Spain

A decade ago, finding Spanish ham in China required a frustrating pilgrimage through most select gourmet shops in its megalopolis. Today, however, is a product that is offered in most supermarket chains where import products are found. The investments in promotion of Spanish companies of sector have yielded results and high society of most populous country of world has been fond of most exquisite Iberian ham. So much so that ir appetite is going to provoke a noticeable increase in prices in Spain.

"It's something that should have happened before, but United States and China opened its doors late and is now when Acorn Iberian ham is going to be placed in its rightful place: a product at height of caviar or truffle" , Avanza René Lemeé, export director of five Jotas. The company was pioneer in China and since 2014 that country is largest market abroad. "The economic crisis in Spain has been a spur to go abroad, and that has allowed many people to know and fall in love with ham."

The problem, says Lemeé, is scarcity of product. "The world of Iberian race and Dehesa is limited." We can't produce all hams we want because we need two acres for each animal. This causes a tension in market that will result in a continuous increase in prices, exacerbated also by increase in costs of new regulations.

Roberto Batres, director in Shanghai of Delaiberia Gold, a company owned by several Extremaduran producers of Ham, wine, and olive oil, shares prediction of Lemeé. "In Spain price will go up safe", sentencing. "There are a score of companies that are certified to sell in China, and a dozen are dedicated to Iberian." The latter now do not have enough acorn ham with long healing demanded by Chinese, of 40 or 48 months. Moreover, it seems that Chinese government will approve more Spanish companies so that y can export. "As most of m now sells in domestic market, that could make even more pressure on prices."

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Cascading effect on prices

Although at moment problem is focused on most exclusive product- Acorn-, Batres considers that this situation can encourage farmers to bet on an increase in quality to respond to demand from abroad and that, refore, rest of hams Iberian-especially bait varieties-also increase ir prices gradually, in a cascade effect. "The positive thing is that this encourages maintenance of rangelands and conservation of environment," he stresses.

Interestingly, in China some local companies have also seen business opportunity that opens with this product and two have begun to import fresh meat Iberian pork bait for subsequent healing in facilities y have in Jinhua, a city of The eastern province of Zhejiang. "They freeze leg in Spain, transport it to China, and cure it re to sell Iberian ham y produce." But y still do not have proper healing processes and ham is excessively salty, "says Batres, which in China has introduced Iberian ham from Ibersano field bait.

The change that has been experienced in market is surprising. "With increasing purchasing power of Chinese population, demand for luxury agro-food products has also been exploited," explains Lemeé. "We have positioned ourselves in best channels-restaurants and shops-east of China, and now we hope to sign a new protocol that allows to export ham with bone-for time being boned-to give a new jump," adds manager, who It also sees in emergent Chinese electronic commerce an interesting way of marketing.

"We have even created a school of ham cutters from China and an association of se professionals, a sample of how this product is being put in local society," says Batres, which is marked as an objective to shade Parma ham Italian. However, this optimism contrasts with latest data from Spanish exports of pork to China, which are always-especially offal- most bulky game. In fact, after having marked a record of 444 million euros last year, when China surpassed France as main importer of Spanish pork meat, during first six months of 2017, 16.9% receded. However, ham producers are convinced that ir segment will continue to grow rapidly.

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