Artichoke consumption has grown by 20% in the last 12 months, going from an average of 2.5 kilos per capita to 3 kilos. According to statements made to Efeagro by the president of the Artichoke Consortium of Spain, Antonio Galindo, this increase in sales, which has coincided with the spread of the pandemic, is a consequence of the search for "really healthy foods" by a consumer who has the Mediterranean diet as a reference.
"Traditionally, the product has been consumed mostly on the production areas, but now many other parts of the country, especially some in the north, have joined this trend," he said.
In his opinion, the greater intake of this traditional product "is not a result of it being fashionable, but of it being healthy," and new generations of consumers are increasingly interested in it.
National production all year round
In Spain, there are 14,000 hectares devoted to the production of artichokes, which goes on all year round. Of these, 6,000 hectares are located in the Campo de Cartagena and the Valle del Guadalentín, in the Region of Murcia. Another 2,500 hectares are in the Vega Baja de Alicante and another 1,000 in Navarra, which has the protected geographical indication (PGI) Alcachofa de Tudela. The remaining acreage is located mainly in Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid.
Tudela and the rest of Navarra produce in October and November, and then resume the campaign from February to May. In November, the campaign kicks off in the Vega Baja de Alicante and Murcia, and when the summer heat arrives, the artichokes of Zafarraya, in Granada, grown at a 1,200 meter altitude, take over, said Galindo.
This year's Spanish production is expected to amount to 230,000 tons, 4.5% more than in 2019.
A large share of the Spanish artichokes, around 70%, is sold canned and France is the main export market. This year, "better prices and returns than in 2019 are being recorded at origin," he says.