The acreage devoted to broccoli cultivation in Spain has expanded significantly in recent years, turning the country into the main producer of this vegetable in Europe. Its peak production period goes from autumn to spring, although it is increasingly contributing to summer supply programs, both for the domestic and export markets. Its high consumption in northern Europe makes it one of the most popular vegetables. For its part, Spain is recording a good growth rate thanks, in part, to promotional actions, such as those carried out by the +Brócoli association, which are backed by the sector's breeding, producing and marketing companies.
"When this association was created about 10 years ago, broccoli consumption in Spain amounted to around 200 gram per capita. This figure has multiplied by 10 and now each Spaniard consumes around 2 kg of this vegetable annually," says Antonia María Piernas, president of +Brócoli. "There was a great lack of knowledge about this vegetable in Spain. It did not enjoy a good reputation. Informing consumers of its nutritional properties and the best ways to cook it has been key to changing this. Also, over the last year the pandemic has helped consumers become more aware of health issues, and this has also been reflected in an increase in broccoli consumption," she says.
This year, +Brócoli has again organized the campaign "Soy fan de ti" ("I'm a fan of you"), which has entailed the use of special labeling with a rose in the shape of a flower in one million broccoli pieces. This year the label has featured a QR code allowing interaction with the various campaign materials through a link to the web. This initiative, together with the campaign's claim, has been helping create a "fandom" around broccoli, which is becoming clear at both points of sale and on the association's various social networks, especially on Instagram. The broccolis are available in more than 10,000 points of sale across Spain.
The pedagogue and Masterchef 3 contestant, Mireia Ruiz Manresa, was picked as the godmother of this year's campaign. She has been offering her views on cooking and broccoli through recipes and resources, available on the campaign's website www.soyfandeti.com. The association has also set up a technical and scientific committee to verify and contrast the information provided to consumers. Throughout the two weeks of the campaign, various live talks have been organized with chefs and nutritionists, who are sharing their points of view and discussing the benefits of broccoli in a healthy diet for all ages.
"We also want to carry out a promotional campaign in summer, to make it clear that broccoli is not just a winter vegetable. The approach will therefore be different. Instead of showing recipes such as creams, soups and typical winter dishes, we will go for salads, barbecue alternatives etc. We hold live chats on Instagram," said Antonia María Piernas.
According to the president of this association, broccoli is an increasingly essential vegetable, and despite having grown so much in the last 10 years, its consumption in Spain has not yet reached its peak. "It is being used in more and more cooking and healthy living programs. In fact, now, when you see advertisements for refrigerators, broccoli usually appears inside them. I think there is room for broccoli consumption to continue to grow even more in Spain. If we look at the consumption levels in the United Kingdom, with around 5 kg per capita, we believe that Spain's could even double in not many years from now. I still believe there is a lot of room for growth in the foodservice channel, in school canteens and fast food franchises, for example."
"The goal of the +Brócoli campaigns is to connect with broccoli consumers and attract new broccoli enthusiasts, so that consumption in Spain can continue to grow. We already have a large community on social networks and we see how interest in this vegetable is growing exponentially. It is very gratifying to launch campaigns in which collaboration and cooperation between our partners become fundamental, and that is where the success of our campaigns lies," says Antonia María Piernas.