Mediterranean diet: Why the Spanish are eating far less fish

Fish and seafood are one of the most important parts of the Mediterranean diet and Spain is known for its excellent offerings, but now consumption of these products has fallen by 20 percent.

Mediterranean diet: Why the Spanish are eating far less fish
Fish consumption falls by 20 percent in Spain. Photo: G.C. / Pixabay

Most Spanish regions have at least one traditional fish dish or seafood dish, even the ones that are not located along the coast. In fact, to follow a Mediterranean diet, it’s recommended to eat fish at least two or three times a week, however, the latest data shows that during the first two months of 2023, fish consumption fell by 20 percent.

Many believe that this is due to inflation and the historic rise in food prices in Spain, which has affected the entire weekly shop but has had one of the greatest impacts on the cost of fish.

Fish prices have risen 14 percent within the last year, meaning that families can no longer afford the types of meals they once ate, causing consumption of one of Spain’s much-loved products to decrease by a whopping 20 percent.

READ ALSO: Food prices in Spain rise 16 percent despite VAT cut

According to data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) published on March 14th, inflation has had the most pressure on the price of the weekly shop and food become more expensive by 16.6 percent in the last year. The Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) has estimated that this translates into an extra annual cost of €924.

Many families are now saying that cans of tuna are the only type of fish that they can afford and that it is now considered a luxury product for special occasions only.

READ ALSO – Cost of living: What are Spain’s best price comparison websites?

When the reduction in VAT on food was announced in December 2022, fish was excluded from the list. The 4 percent VAT for staple foods, such as bread, milk, flour, cheese, eggs, fruit, vegetables, legumes, potatoes and cereals, was abolished and the government also cut VAT on oil and pasta 10 to 5 percent for six months.

But now, merchants are asking that the government reduce the VAT on fish to 4 percent as well.

Meat consumption is another important part of the Spanish diet, which favourite dishes and tapas such as jamón, paella Valenciana and cocido.  

The consumption of fresh meat fell by 2.5 percent in the first month of the year, according to data presented by NielsenIQ at the 23rd Aecoc Congress of Meat Products.  

Many Spaniards are choosing to switch to frozen meat instead, saying that they can save around €3 to €4 by not buying it fresh.  

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment of Spain, Luis Planas, however, does not believe that the drop in the consumption of meat and fish is due to high prices.

According to him, it is due to a trend of consuming a more vegetarian diet instead. Planas claimed it was not necessary to lower VAT on meat and fish. The drop in meat and fish consumption is due to a “consumption trend” rather than the price factor he explained, referring to the annual report on food trends carried out by the ministry. 

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REVEALED: The most popular food and drink brands in each Spanish region

A new study has revealed Spaniards' favourite food and drink brands and which brands are consumed the most in each region of the country.

REVEALED: The most popular food and drink brands in each Spanish region

A new report from data analysis company Kantar in its Brand Footprint 2023 report discovered that the brand most consumed by Spanish households is Coca-Cola, the world’s best-known soft drink.

The report analysed data from more than 35,000 brands in a total of 53 countries and gave each brand a score of Consumer Reach Points or CRPs. This was calculated by working out the number of homes in the country x the percentage of households that buy the brand more than one time a year x the number of times each household buys that brand. 

READ ALSO: Ten reasons your homemade Spanish tortilla went wrong

In Spain, the company found out that the top 10 most popular brands or those with the highest CRPs were:

  1. Coca-Cola: 130.69 million CRPs 
  2. El Pozo: 110.86 million
  3. Central Lechera Asturiana: 97.99 million
  4. Campofrío: 85.54 million
  5. Gallo: 61.51 million
  6. Bimbo: 54.75 million
  7. Activia: 46.34 million
  8. Danone: 46.30 million
  9. Pescanova: 46.13 million
  10. Don Simón: 46.09 million

The report also worked out which was the most popular brand in each region of the country.

Coca-Cola was the most popular in six regions including Catalonia, Madrid, Valencia, the Balearics, Aragón and Cantabria. 

El Pozo, the Spanish company that sells various types of cold cuts, bacon, sausages, burgers and ham was the most popular brand in Andalusia, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Navarre and the Canary Islands. 

In third place was Central Lechera Asturiana, which makes dairy products such as milk, yoghurts, butter and cream, and was the most popular in two different regions. Unsurprisingly it was the most popular brand in Asturias, but it was also the most favoured in La Rioja. 

READ ALSO: What are the rules for setting up a food truck in Spain? 

In fourth place was Campofrío, which sells meat products from sausages and ham to slices of turkey and chicken, as well as ready-made pizzas. It has also recently moved into vegetarian and vegan alternatives. It was the favourite brand for people living in Castilla y León and the Basque Country. 

Finally, the Galician dairy company LARSA which makes primarily milk, yoghurt and cheese was the most popular in the region of Galicia. 

Most popular brands a different sectors

When it came to Spaniards’ favourite brands in different sectors such as cleaning and hygiene, the results showed mainly well-known worldwide brands such as Colgate, Nivea and Fairy. 

Food Drink Dairy Cleaning Personal hygiene Fruit & Vegetables
El Pozo Coca Cola Central lechera Asturiana Fairy Colgate Plátano de Canarias
Campofrío Don Simón Activia Foxy Nivea Zespri
Gallo Fanta Danone Scottex Evax Florette
Bimbo Mahou Puleva Ariel Sanex Marlene
Pescanova Aquarius Reina Renova Pantene Horcaol