Premium Spanish ham makes way to China

A leg of much sought-after ‘pata negra’ ham can fetch up to US$3,364 in Hong Kong. Source: Shutterstock

THE Chinese – the world’s biggest pork consumers – have developed a taste for Spain’s iconic jamón (ham).

According to a recent report by AFP, jamón imported from Spain is being sold as a premium product in China. In fact, Spain is slowly overtaking France and Italy as China’s top importer for hams.

More Chinese buyers are visiting villages and pastures in Spain where top-quality ham is produced. They are then given a breakdown of how dry-cured ham is made to help them develop appreciation of the hams.

They use their knowledge to sell the hams to fellow Chinese and can sometimes sell up to 20 percent more than the retail prices in Spain.

For instance, a leg of much sought-after “pata negra” ham can fetch up to €3,000 (US$3,364) in Hong Kong.

Unsurprisingly for China, there’s also a risk of counterfeit products emerging. However, Spanish producers are not too worried because they claim their hams are the product of a specific climate and animal.

“What is made in Spain is very exclusive to the peninsula,” dry-cured ham producer Embutidos Fermin chief executive Santiago Martin told AFP.

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