4th GENCAT stakeholders meeting and 3rd Qualify Strategic Committee meeting

The third meeting of the Qualify Strategic Committee took place on Wednesday, 19 May. The meeting was part of the current six-monthly theme for the project: promoting authenticity and other quality attributes as value for consumers.

Once again, professionals from the agri-food industry, research centres, companies in the sector and representatives of consumer associations met to address the issue jointly and contribute ideas to the Qualify project Action Plan, which will include actions to improve the competitiveness of SMEs in the agri-food industry.

  • The session was opened by the Director General for Food, Quality and Agri-Food Industries, Carmel Mòdol, who presented the latest results from the Eurobarometer on consumers’ concerns regarding information on the food they consume.
  • The Deputy Director General for Agri-Food Inspection and Control then joined her in thanking the professionals who attended the session, numbering almost 70, for their participation.
  • Maria Peña presented the results of the questionnaire, produced in the context of the project with the support of consumers’ associations, which clearly showed the growing demand for information on other aspects related to the origin and proximity of food and the accuracy of this information.
  • Elena Espeitx presented the results of the consumer focus group that analysed the questions from the questionnaire in greater depth, also showing consumers’ growing demand for information, especially on aspects related to product origin.

Several studies and success stories on the subject were then presented:

  • Catalan Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives (FCAC). New analytical strategies for verifying the variety of olive oil and its geographical origin and detecting adulteration with other types of oil. David Casadevall.
  • Ametller Origen: Origin as added value. Víctor Duró.
  • Directorate General for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs/Spanish Association of Manufacturers and Distributors (AECOC): Analysis of Catalan fish and seafood consumers. Marta Munné.
  • Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA): THINK-LOCAL Project Effective communication of vertical integration as a stimulus for the consumption of local primary products. Anna Claret.
  • Balfegó Group: The added value of traceability in the world of bluefin tuna. Begoña Melich.
  • Palamós Fishermen’s Guild: Project to improve fish traceability. Cristina Mañas.

A discussion panel was set up, chaired by Ricardo Esparza, lecturer at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and technical advisor to the Qualify project. A number of issues were discussed by the speakers and attendees.

Finally, a brainstorming session was organised to propose actions, such as the creation of a multichannel platform to provide consumers with verified, evidence-based information on food attributes, and the use of digital tools such as Blockchain technology to benefit SMEs, to highlight the attributes of foodstuffs that guarantee the accuracy, authenticity and traceability of food.

A total of 28 action proposals were collected, which will be analysed in detail to assess their implementation in the Qualify Action Plan to address consumers’ needs while also helping agri-food SMEs to improve their competitiveness.