National Sunflower Association President Don Schommer and marketing director John Sandbakken traveled to Spain in April to meet with confection sunflower seed importers.
"We had excellent meetings with importers and roasters that are fully engaged and eager to buy high quality seeds from the U.S.," says Schommer. "Spain is a premium market paying top dollar and the demand for in-shell confection seed is tremendous."
Spain has traditionally been a large consumer of roasted and salted confection sunflower seeds and consumers call them "Pipas." Spain dominates the U.S. confection sunflower seed export market taking almost 40 percent of total U.S., exports on a yearly basis. NSA, using funds from the Foreign Agricultural Service's Market Access Program, has been working with Spanish roasters for over 10 years conducting consumer advertising programs using magazine and television advertising, and point-of-sale promotions in various retail locations to create sales of U.S., confection sunflower seeds.
During the trip, NSA hosted a "Pipas Marketing Seminar" in Madrid that was attended by 40 individuals representing, Spanish roasters, importers, and media, U.S., embassy personnel and U.S. exporters. NSA contracted with the market research firm Append in October 2008 to obtain a better understanding of the main purchasing and consumption habits in Spain in relation to sunflower seeds and kernel. Jose Garcia from Append presented the results obtained in the survey of Spanish consumers. Jesus Roman Martinez, the CEO of a food trade organization named SEDCA (Sociedad Espanola de Dietética y Ciencias de la Alimentación) presented information on the trends and health issues Spaniards demand as well as new government regulations for the food industry regarding nutritional claims. "Overall the seminar was well received by attendees and was a good way for industry members to meet, gain knowledge and exchange ideas" said Schommer.
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