In recent years, the evolution of the food distribution sector in Spain has had great milestones, among which I would highlight two very recent ones.
The first of these is the scientific finding from the data of the 2008-2014 crisis that Spanish commercial distribution is among the ten most efficient in Europe.
This is due to four main factors: a greater balance between formats than in other European countries, a lower business concentration with national and regional companies, cooperatives and franchises that compete for the benefit of the consumer, intensive employment – thanks to which the sector is capable of creating jobs even in times of crisis – and a high degree of investment and innovation, which has created a highly efficient and highly automated logistics structure.
Spanish commercial distribution is among the most efficient in Europe
The second refers to the excellent response of companies to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The structural foundations were well established and have made it possible to guarantee access to food throughout the country in very difficult circumstances. Entrepreneurs had to make difficult and risky decisions, make an effort to coordinate with other organizations and take unprecedented internal management measures.
All this to ensure that Spain was positioned as the country with the least stock- outs in our environment, ensure access to food and protect customers and employees, making supermarkets safe places.
Spain has been the country with the least breakage of ‘stock’ in our environment
It is now time to work to contribute to the recovery of the economy in Spain and Europe by looking at some of the great shared objectives: the Green Deal , digital transformation and the sustainability of the economy. Not surprisingly, trade and food have been identified by the European Commission as two of the fourteen fundamental systems for recovery.
This “double essential ecosystem” condition places the sector at the center of recovery and demands to defend a model that, as has been proven, is highly employment-intensive, provides wealth in the areas in which it operates, presents great advances in the economy circulate and has been able to bring technological innovation to its internal processes and customer relationships.
And, in the case of Spain, this defense involves drawing attention to several dangers that can weigh down the sustainability of companies: possible tax increases, multi-recurrent theft, absenteeism and, finally, the excess of regulations that implies extraordinary costs and limits business operations.
The excess of regulation implies extraordinary costs and limits the operation
We also have to continue working on improving logistics structures, so that they continue to be technologically cutting-edge; recognize, value and take care of even more the great asset of human resources; strengthen the value of proximity to continue responding to the needs of citizens, wherever they live; and meet the demand for electronic commerce in food from the idea of economic, social and environmental sustainability.
We must strengthen the value of proximity and continue to respond to the needs of citizens
In this way we will be ensuring the future of a sector that – today more than ever – Spanish society needs and values and that must have the reflection it deserves in the media that help us to transmit it.