More action and collaboration to face a growing problem

The growing problem society has been facing in recent times as a result of the dangerous underage-drinking-fun equation is no secret. There are also many voices raising the alarm about the increasingly younger ages at which these young people try alcoholic beverages for the first time.

Last year’s data provided by the Ministry of Health in Spain itself are a wake-up call to everyone. Questions arise when we discover that according to these same figures, practically half of schoolchildren aged 14 who participated in outdoor drinking parties during last year have suffered at least one acute alcohol poisoning episode? Why is this figure so high? How do they have access to alcohol if it is banned by law? Is today’s society trivializing the effects that alcohol can have on the body and on the development of the youngest?

It is not about demonizing spirits. Not at all. From DIA we have always defended freedom of choice between each and every one of our products and which of course we consider the best in the market in their respective segments.  The point is to raise awareness and try to tackle widespread consumption among a segment of the population for whom alcohol intake can be fatal in the long term.

To this end, it is critical to be clear about who are the key players involved in this problem. In first place, the family. Without a fully aware family environment, it is impossible to make those young people realize that consumption at an early age will affect their short-term performance and their long-term development. Secondly, the participation of local bodies. A permissive legislation or an incorrect application of the same allows the attendance to mass outdoor drinking parties or to never ending night events in places where mass consumption occurs, relating the weekend or events with the consumption of alcoholic drinks. Thirdly, actions by businesses, distributors and those in charge of the sale. Without escaping responsibility that corresponds to us regarding the sales in our establishments, we should point out the existence of unorganized distribution stores that do sell alcohol to minors while looking the other way and without asking any questions. We must not forget the role of the hotel industry either.

This is the aim of DIA’s recently launched initiative “Stop Underage Drinking, A Challenge For All”. Involve each and every one of the people, bodies and companies that can and should do something to eradicate a problem that is clearly increasing. We are aware that this is a difficult task that cannot be faced by a single person or entity, thus the need to join forces in a project that we would like to share from DIA. DIA is already working to reinforce the training to communicate the message in a widespread manner; employees, adult consumers, our main target groups, but also minors whom we will address from our sports and social action projects. We also review our procedures and would like to contribute to this important challenge. It’s a long-distance race. We are aware.

In short, we would like to be the starting point, the hinge that opens the door to new projects, joint collaboration and, above all, common success.

We encourage active participation from the company. We must not forget “Stop Underage Drinking, A Challenge For All” and to benefit society as a whole.

It’s never too late: Comments on the Ruling of the ECJ regarding Spanish Regulations on below-cost-sales

On 19 October, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a ruling (Case C-295/16) declaring that Spanish regulations on below-cost-sales contained in the Retail Trade Regulation Act (Law 7/1996), and therefore all related regulations applicable in autonomous regions, generally prohibiting below-cost-sales due to them being considered unfair in essence, except in cases where a company “is attempting to reach the prices of one or several competitors with a view to significantly affecting their sales, or in the case of perishable products that are reaching their sell-by date”, are illegal and contrary to the Law of the European Union. Continue reading It’s never too late: Comments on the Ruling of the ECJ regarding Spanish Regulations on below-cost-sales

Is it possible to compete with the Internet giants? The future is today

On September 26 and 27, DIA group held its International Management Convention in Madrid. This Senior Management Meeting revolved around the immediacy of a future packed with important changes in markets and their impact on business and on the consumer. Digital transformation is much more than just online commerce and is already generating a deep change in the retail sector, which, like any revolution or major change, entails threats and opportunities.

Placing ourselves among the first and looking outside the European borders, we see how big operators in the digital market are causing the mass closure of the more traditional retail formats to date, but above all, we see that consumers evolve in the way they increasingly consume and use tools that were unknown to them not long ago. As food for thought, the iPhone was released 10 years ago. Today there are 3 billion iPhones in the market, and they are expected to double in 3 years’ time. Large digital operators control the use of these tools and how to reach consumers through them. But let’s not fool ourselves, since they also make large investments in price that are focused on controlling the categories, and their size allows them to do so.

In the most advanced markets it is often said that the “digital future is a reality”. In China, for example, the internet cannot be used to make only online purchases, but the development of large Market Places is a new way of life for consumers, we enter a universe where these markets are used to discover new products, compare prices, or establish an open form of dialog with the market. In China it is common practice to be able to make a purchase through your mobile phone and pay through it.

If we move to the US, we have a huge operator, which aims to be the company that focuses more in consumer goods. Be the preferred choice in the retail sector. A retail sector that covers all-things consumable, including food.

In both cases we are talking about operators that far exceed the size of any of the European operators. That is, market capitalizations that exceed €400 million. Now let’s compare this figure with that of any European operator, or beyond, with the total of the Spanish market. The comparison inevitably leads to a reflection on whether Europe is prepared for an already present revolution that comes from outside, and whether its operators will have the capacity to compete. As we have seen, the reality is that capitalization is much lower, its purchasing power is almost non-existent in comparative terms and the speed of change in Europe is much slower. Perhaps the multiple and historical interests will cause that we cannot see the forest for the trees.

Not everything are threats, there are opportunities too; the technology and the networks allow us to access the knowledge to be able to compete and to continue being next to that consumer that is in constant change. But in order to compete and in order to reach those opportunities, we must stop looking back, to limited spaces, the market is broad and must be free. Alliances are necessary and obstacles must be removed. Let’s not waste time because since will miss the opportunity. The future is today and these operators know it.

Much more than just a sports sponsorship

From DIA we started to consider the possibility of going further in the collaboration agreement with the Federation and its team that both entities uphold since 2014, we did not suspect for one moment the warm welcome and the excitement that female basketball in this country had in it. We were aware of the difficult path that the players and technical staff have to give voice to basketball, a sport with such a large fan base, and the desire to fight for the visibility of a sport that is not yet where it deserves in terms of media coverage. But there is different between what we are told and what can actually be experienced. And, indeed, excitement cannot be broadcasted, it needs to be experienced.

We have met with a group of people whose values define and promote us as a company. Respect, team work and, above all, the desire to excel, have made us look upon the DIA Basketball League as a benchmark. This is the first sports sponsorship agreement that the company signs in its more than 35 years of history. And the experience is as good as it gets. Continue reading Much more than just a sports sponsorship

Running against child poverty. Would you join us?

The fight against child poverty requires determination and firm actions. Therefore, in our company we believe that only by playing a leading role in this battle and adding our efforts and synergies can this difficult challenge be tackled.

DIA Group organizes the first ‘Solidarity Race against Child Poverty’, to be held on November 26 in the Alamillo Park in Seville, in support of the NGO Save the Children. This family, social and sports event, aimed at people of all ages, aims to raise funds for those projects the NGO carries out to support the care of children living in poverty in the capital of Andalusia.

This action, in which, in addition to these two entities, also has the participation of Andalusia’s Local Government, the City of Seville and the company Jolca, is part of the Alliance against Child Poverty in Andalusia, launched in June 2015 and was joined by the autonomous administration and thirty-one entities and organizations of the Andalusian civil society. Its goal is to offset the effects of the crisis and the exclusion and child poverty in Andalusia. Continue reading Running against child poverty. Would you join us?

Dismantling myths

In a complex world where so many economic, technological, and human factors are involved, we often hear about the strong or weak party in a negotiation, a chain, or a production system. Nevertheless, reducing the complexity of processes to a mere adjective does not make things simpler, nor does it help improve the efficiency of such chains or processes.

It is also common to hear about fair or unfair relations between the parties. If we draw from a concept of justice, in which it is defined as a moral principle that encourages individuals to act and judge in a spirit of respect for truth and of giving people what they deserve, the question becomes even more awkward, as there are many parties, and many truths. Who knows what each person deserves when in twenty-one centuries of history human beings have never reached agreement on this point, nor on many others.

In the agri-food sector, various parties are involved, including suppliers (agri-food, logistics, technology and service companies, etc.), consumers, the primary sector, regulators, competitors, shareholders and employees, among others.

Establishing, in a general manner, who is the strong or weak party should be no simple task. However, there is one axiom that recurs constantly and persistently: the primary sector is the weakest link. Thanks to this axiom, the primary sector continues to receive considerable direct and indirect aid that other parts of the chain do not enjoy. Continue reading Dismantling myths

For an intelligent regulation to benefit everyone

We often wonder ask ourselves about the relationship between companies and public powers. It tends to be a complex relationship, given that decisions made in the political sphere can influence the economic activity of the private sector through the drafting of laws.

At the DIA Group, we have always considered that the relationship between Government and companies can only be understood as one of collaboration. Regulating without having knowledge of a market is a risk that no legislator should be allowed to take. Continue reading For an intelligent regulation to benefit everyone

Threats to free market in the Spanish Retail sector

It isn’t easy to hit the ground running with a product that is as accessible and necessary for everyone as food is. Opinions, accusations, and contradicting messages are frequent and cover a number of different topics. When quantitative analyses are performed, such as those conducted by communications departments, where headlines are quantified and feelings about them are analyzed, readers can begin to think that ours is an industry of near-criminals. When prices increase, it is the fault of the distribution industry; when prices decrease, distribution is selling at a loss. Doesn’t everyone understand?

These and other nonsensical arguments make it necessary to take these articles with a grain of salt. Some variables are constant and some examples occur day after day.

In the last few months, we have seen accusations about selling at a loss, whether aimed at the distribution industry or directly at DIA, in the media; three accusations have materialized into 116 points of impact in the media. If we take the total of all points of impact throughout the year on this topic, you might conclude that we are not a company but rather an NGO. The question is really not what we sell at a loss, but what we actually earn on some of our sales. This is certainly an industry with very tight margins and complex management processes, and the importance of controlling costs is crucial, but we can clearly see that if everything is sold at a loss, the company can’t record any earnings. Continue reading Threats to free market in the Spanish Retail sector

Who regulates the food we throw away straight from the fridge?

Distribution is undoubtedly the display window of the mass consumption business in all parts of the world. A display window that we frequently tend to look at and, in some cases, to blame when an issue arises related to food and its derivative products, forgetting that it is only the last link of a chain with many players, including of course distribution itself. A recurring example in this regard is the food waste issue, which inevitably leads the public to look towards their closest supermarket. This is why it is important to clarify some relevant figures.

In mass distribution, the margins are so tight that food waste becomes a matter of survival. The more food waste a supermarket generates the bigger the dent in the balance sheet. More spending on purchases and less revenue on sales. As simple as that. Therefore, it should not be surprising that this industry, according to figures from the European Commission, represents only 5% of food waste in Europe, far from the 14% from the hotel industry, 29% from the primary sector industry and 53% from households. “Food waste: the problem in the EU in numbers” Precisely this last point, that of consumers, should be the most important one in the face of a supposed future regulation related to waste. Continue reading Who regulates the food we throw away straight from the fridge?

Who really cares about the consumer?

You often read of the use that distribution makes of neuromarketing (applying neuroscience technology to marketing to learn and understand the attention levels that people display to different stimuli) and of how this is done in order to monitor the purchasing intent of consumers, to the extent of proving on more than one occasion that the consumer does not display a pattern of presumably rational behavior.

We are not about to deny here that studying the behavior of consumers and attempting to satisfy their demands is a key feature of this business. This is why we constantly and increasingly maintain contact, ask questions (nine million surveys in 2016) and make every effort to study new ways to approach consumers. We are also not about to deny that we hope to sell more by doing this; selling is the basis of any business, not just ours. We increase our product selection, offer the best quality to price ratio, improve our stores and make all manner of other efforts to sell more and get closer to our customers. An endless variety of initiatives, some more on target, others decidedly less so. The customer will tell us, because one thing is certain: if the customer says no, we don’t sell it. Continue reading Who really cares about the consumer?