Jorge AguilarSEGUIRMADRID Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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The role of the supermarkets and the entire food chain during the confinement was key for our country to not suffer a supply problem . During the three months of alarm state the activity of food stores was virtually, to be considered “essential”. A recognition that it had before the health crisis that now calls for a follow doing to help that there is a supply in the future, even more now that we are living almost a second wave of cases in Spain. So he explains to ABC Ignacio García Magarzo , director general of Asedas, management of distribution companies such as Mercadona and Dia.

The collection of food and hygiene products during the state of alarm provoked the supermarket chains will experience a rise in sales. However, Magarzo reveals that “the industry has not made their August” because during that time there was “a decline in margins because products sold were not the higher-priced “. In addition, he explains that the pandemic also “has led to an increase in costs for safety measures, protection and organization of the stores,”.

Now, with the new normal, that turnover has stabilized and has returned to levels of previous years, although Magarzo is concerned that there is a decrease in the consumption by the economic crisis. That is why he argues that has not uploaded tax because it understands that it will damage the levels of consumption. “VAT do not upload it. In these moments, the consumption, which was already vulnerable because she had not recovered from the previous crisis, does not support increases in the VAT; it would be very detrimental,” he says. Also argues that the EU launched the initiative “From the farm to the table,” two months ago, “where they’re planning to reduce the VAT of fresh products, especially vegetables.”

But not only reduces the VAT to their fear of possible raises tax. From Asedas also opposed to the special taxes, as of plastic, whose draft was met a month ago. According to the direct r-general of the employers, “may sound like a extent environmental, but these are the containers that use a large part of the great consumption. If you do not have a real alternative is just becoming a indirect tax to the consumer”.

Another of the claims of the sector to the Government is to relax the regulatory pressure. According to Magarzo, this increased by 572% during the pandemic by health standards, management of flows, hours, set shifts, among others. “Our sector has been heavily regulated in the wake of the pandemic, but it already was before,” he explains.

In regard to another topic that has the Government in mind, as is the repeal of the labor reform, the director general of Asedas believes that “it is important that you keep the current structure of conventions”, where it is currently prevalent in the company over the sector. According to Magarzo, “the diversity of companies and regions that there are in our industry requires that each company may voluntarily decide to be in the area that you want and that it has not above a few conditions that may be imposed”.

Pact of the times

In the wake of the health crisis, the trade put on the table the debate of being able to open during the holidays to recover part of the lost income during confinement. A proposal from Asedas want to point out that it should not affect the trade of food, because “we have different needs,” . Magarzo said that in the case of supermarkets “does not increase the demand or increase sales by the fact that there is more opening days”. That’s why advocates for reaching a grand bargain between all of the members of the trade, including the workers through the trade unions.

The other issue that the sector anda discussion is the strengthening of the law of the agri-food chain with the Government and farming organisations. In February, the farmers protested and pointed to the large distributors as to blame for the low prices at which they had to sell in origin. Magarzo defends the efficiency of the current food chain, and rejects the increases of price in the different links affect the final price, because “we will lose competitiveness.” He explains, “we don’t feel guilty for the problems of the farmers, we can be part of the solution.” Thus, it proposes to create larger cooperatives that puedean to structure and order the offer, and that is to give more stability to the relationships between companies and providers through contracts.

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