InLac Promotes a Historic Tasting of European Cheeses in New York and Launches a Revolutionary Online Platform to Multiply Exports to the U.S.

The campaign “Discover the European Cheestories with cheeses from Spain“, co-financed by InLac and the European Union, develops a powerful mix of activities such as attendance to trade shows, exhibitions, tastings and actions at the point of sale. For its part, the new B2B online platform will connect companies with large American importers and distributors to boost business figures.

NEW YORK — Little Spain, one of the most emblematic gastronomic markets in New York, has hosted one of the most important European cheese tastings held to date in the US, led by la Organización Interprofesional Láctea (InLac) – which brings together all operators in the sector in Spain, from farmers to cooperatives to manufacturers – within the framework of the promotion campaign co-financed by the EU “Discover the European Cheestories with cheeses from Spain“.

In 2023, Spain exported more than 8,700 tons of cheese worth more than 105 million euros to the U.S., making it one of the main markets outside the EU. According to the latest data from InLac, these cheese exports from Spain to the United States continue to have an important weight and in 2023 they will account for 13.01% in value and 7.41% in volume of total cheese exports, positioning itself as the third foreign market in the sector in value and the fourth in volume in this category. But its growth potential is still, for experts, “enormous.”

As highlighted by the managing director of InLac, Nuria María Arribas, the U.S. is the third most populous country behind China and India. Within ten years, this colossus will have almost 350 million people, who will demand increasing quantities of food, such as European and Spanish cheeses. And per capita cheese consumption is estimated to increase more than 4.3% by 2027.

To take advantage of this business opportunity, a revolutionary new online platform which will connect European and Spanish companies – and their different DOPs and PGIs – with large importers and distributors, which anticipates a strong increase in exports, since it will make it much easier, faster and more accessible to exchange information and close orders .

The platform, presented by the director of Strategic Planning of Tactics Europe, Oscar Mozún, includes a practical guide on the rules and legislation applicable to this market that importers must comply with, from the registration of establishments with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the labeling of these dairy foods, including regulations on additives and allergenic substances that affect them.

Likewise, “a specialized network will connect importers and exporters, facilitating the exchange of our high-quality, unique and differential cheeses,” Mozún detailed during the presentation of the Platform in New York. Added to all this is the most recent and up-to-date information on cheeses, events, trade fairs and other activities relevant to American buyers, and even notices about new market trends.

A wide collection of downloadable materials has also been designed, within this B2B Platform, to help distributors promote Spanish cheeses in the U.S. market. “We believe that exports will benefit from a strong boost thanks to this Platform, which adds to the promotional actions of the campaign,” Mozún foresees.

“Historic” tasting in a market with high potential

Meanwhile, the tasting at Little Spain (MAR Restaurant), in which North American media and influencers participated, was directed by the prestigious professional cheese taster Erin T Connolly, who highlighted the great offer and versatility of this type of dairy food that come from Europe, Spain. Unique European cheeses shined in the tasting: P.D.O Cabrales, PGI Queso Castellano, P.D.O Queso Manchego, P.D.O Idiazábal, P.D.O Zamorano, Rulo de Cabra, P.D.O Camerano, P.D.O Murcia al Vino, P.D.O Torta del Casar, DOP Mahón-Menorca, P.D.O Tetilla and P.D.O Arzúa-Ulloa.

Per capita cheese consumption in the US stands at 17 kg per person/year, but Americans are developing a taste for specialty cheese varieties with EU differentiated quality seals (DOP/PGI) and originating in Western Europe, and demand in the gourmet cheese category is expected to continue to grow. The acceptance of ethnic cuisines and the rise of the Hispanic community has also stimulated sales of European cheeses in Arribas’ opinion.

For the European dairy sector, it is vitally important that American consumers know the commitment of our production and processing methods and their differentiating aspects compared to competitors from third countries. “When we talk about European and Spanish cheeses, we are talking about environmental awareness, traceability, food safety and animal welfare that provide excellent raw materials for the production of the best cheeses,” they recall from InLac.

All of them are differential values that provide competitive advantages that we must be able to take advantage of in this immense market. “We have 150 varieties of cheeses in Spain and some of the most renowned figures of differentiated quality, between designations of origin and geographical indications, an unrivaled gastronomic treasure,” Arribas concludes.

The three-year promotional campaign, includes dissemination actions in New York, Phoenix, Florida, Las Vegas, Miami and Chicago, and has proposed increasing the level of knowledge about the benefits of our cheeses, marked by high production standards in force in the European Union, enhancing its characteristics in terms of quality, flavor, traceability, food safety and animal welfare. At the same time, the informative actions aim to increase knowledge about the variety and diversity of cheeses of European and Spanish origin. The InLac and EU promotional campaign is promoting knowledge of European cheeses in a phased manner, emphasizing communication to professionals, both importers and the Restaurant, Hospitality and Catering sector, with the aim of multiplying sales in the coming years.