Spanish supermarkets call for calm

by Lorraine Williamson
food supply

Despite tensions in the supply chain and shortages of certain products due to transport protests, supermarkets on Wednesday called for calm and ruled out any shortages on their shelves.  

The secretary-general of the employers’ organisation Asedas, Felipe Medina, stressed the “enormous effort” made by the distribution sector. He called on consumers to remain calm and argued that efforts are being made to reorganise the range. Furthermore, he ensured that products in all categories are on the shelves. Medina also stressed good cooperation with suppliers. 

Hoarding makes stock management more complex 

The president of the Spanish Association of Supermarket Suppliers (ACES), Aurelio del Pino, urged consumers to make responsible purchases and avoid stocking up. This does not solve the problem but makes stock management in the shops even more complicated. We have supply problems, but there will be no shortages, the shopping baskets can be well-stocked,’ Del Pino said.  

There was a joint press conference held by the organisations representing the agri-food sector value chain and bulk consumers. Here, spokespersons estimated the damage. Each day of protest means a loss of €130 million. The director-general of the Spanish Food and Beverage Industry Federation (FIAB), García de Quevedo, pointed out that the situation resulting from the road hauliers’ strike does not lead to ‘isolated problems’ with companies that are shutting down or interrupting their activities in the coming days. According to him, all food sectors are affected; from dairy products, meat, eggs, fisheries, frozen foods, oils, preserves, confectionery, sugar, bakery products, flour and cereals, wine, beer, mineral water, juices, coffee to animal feed. 

Supermarket group Anged highlighted the strength of Spanish distribution and its ability to overcome problems. ‘The Spanish agri-food chain has proven to be efficient in situations that are objectively worse than the current one. The problem of unemployment is that raw materials are not arriving.  Therefore, distribution is making great efforts to find alternatives and ensure that shelves are supplied,’ said Anged’s vice-president, Javier Millán-Astray.  

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Sense of urgency  

Taking this scenario into account, the more than 30,000 companies making up the agri-food chain have issued another emergency appeal. They demand ‘a sense of urgency and responsibility’. This is from both the government and the carriers declaring the strike. And, consequently, ‘which is currently causing the movement of raw materials and products to collapse throughout Spain’.  

The organisations stressed their understanding of the transporters’ demands. And, furthermore, the increase in energy and fuel prices affects all businesses. However, it is considered ‘a legitimate protest should not become coercion that restricts the free movement of goods and the right to work of those transporters who have not joined the strike, and puts the whole economy and society at risk’.  

With the temporary closure of a number of factories, the shadow of temporary unemployment schemes (ERTE) is already hanging over the affected companies. ‘It is clear that, if a company is forced to close a production activity, it will use the tools that the legal system allows it to try to minimise these consequences,’ warned the director of Aecoc the trade association of mass consumption in Spain. 

Also read: Protest against high fuel prices

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