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Sustainability Report

5. A year of advances. Generating wealth and well-being
Consumer vocation

We form part of the environment in which we work, and we are committed to defending the consumers´ rights, the environment and the promotion of social and cultural intitatives. Via the Eroski Foundation, we transmit our values by reinvesting 10% of our profit in society.

WE WILL KEEP ON IMPROVING... setting goals for ourselves to provide solutions to adapt to the needs of consumers through assurance of the quality, origin and healthiness of our products, and education and information programmes for the defence of their rights and the creation of healthy, environmentally-friendly and solidarity-minded lifestyles.

An innovating offer

We provide solutions adapted to your needs

Close to the consumers

At Eroski we maintain our commitment to consumers and we offer them quality products at competitive prices, satisfying their needs and expectations of responsible, healthy, guaranteed consumption.

Since Eroski was created, we have orientated our development as a company and our financial growth towards satisfying the needs of customers and consumers. To do this, we constantly extend our commercial network and seek to implement a type of establishment that is more user-friendly and accessible, introducing new products, spaces and services, improving our management style and introducing advances in our information systems and logistics chain. All this has helped us to increase the satisfaction of the more than 200 million customers who visit our shops each year.

Our main concern is to identify society's interests. To do this, we conduct opinion polls to become aware of their desires and integrate them within the products we offer, the information we provide and our contribution to sustainable development.

The Eroski Foundation, in collaboration with the Instituto de Empresa (Business Institute), publishes the Consumer Barometer, which has made an ambitious study every year since 2000 for a systematic, ordered analysis of the concerns, sensitivities and perceptions of the Spanish people as consumers. In 2004 the issues asked about were their confidence in food consumption, their degree of satisfaction with the information received on consumption-related issues, their economic interests, their awareness of the environmental problem, solidarity and lifestyle.

The study's conclusions show a consolidation of the confidence in the food they consume, slightly higher in the case of those who have traditionally have had less confidence in the past (perceiving it as being more industrial or artificial).

The information we have received on consumer issues is similar as regards the values from previous years, although satisfaction with supermarkets and hypermarkets has improved. The level of social awareness regarding issues such as waste collection and fair trade is still low.

At Eroski we also conduct complementary consumer interviews to evaluate their satisfaction with our services and, particularly, the fresh produce sections (the "Freshometer"), a trademark of our food offer and commitment to freshness and excellence of origin and taste.

Also, aware of the importance of offering guaranteed quality products at very competitive prices, we have created a promotional category of basic products, "Record Savings", where the quality standard of the brands is maintained but the prices are reduced by an average of 7% with respect to their usual market price.

New business lines

Investment in opening 279 new establishments and in improving our management and efficiency has led to a better service and greater economic profitability, at the same time benefiting our commitment to consumers and society.

In accordance with the diversification policy included in our Strategic Plan, we work in very different businesses such as service stations, real estate, opticians, travel agencies, sports shops, perfumeries and leisure and culture establishments. At the same time we are developing new business lines such as ready-cooked meals (Multifood S.Coop.) and new types of establishments. Some examples of these are Sportland and Forum and, more recently, Abac, which specialises in leisure and culture for an active use of free time.

Over the 2003-2004 period the Eroski brand has extended its range to include child care products and tastes from abroad (ice creams, patés, cheeses, etc.), and has also extended its own brand range of drugstore products (washing powder, tin foil, cling film etc.). This product diversification has also involved the launch of an entire range of organic vegetable preserves and 49 new ready-cooked food An innovating offer product lines with the brand name Eroski Restauralia, for high quality refrigerated meal solutions. There has also been an expansion of the Eroski NATUR, brand fresh produce, both geographically and in the number of articles, which maintain their guaranteed quality commitment.

An innovating offer

To make things easier for home consumers we have extended our Eroski online coverage to Pamplona, and it will soon reach Guipúzcoa, Asturias, Cantabria and La Rioja, after several years operating in Vitoria and in the greater Bilbao area. This service can be accessed at, and it enables all the products normally on sale in a supermarket to be acquired and delivered to the consumer´s home on the day and time selected.

Our knowledge of our consumers and customers enables us to adapt and design products in accordance with their lifestyles. We have therefore redesigned our shops to make them more convenient, with larger areas given over to fresh produce, due to the positive perception of the high quality of these products, and new developments in range and layout in other sections such as wines, perfumery and other non-food products (footwear, toys, plants and technology). We have also enhanced our extra services with financial products, insurance and new sales channels.

To benefit from the advantages of the new technologies, the Viajes Eroski travel agencies offer the possibility of interactive design and booking of holidays and also a customer help line, services which have been extended to include a virtual shop. The Eroski Travel Club has also been created for travellers to exchange their experiences, obtain information on leisure activities, receive our special offers by e-mail and access articles on destinations of interest.

With our value-added services we also provide specially-tailored information, payment facilities and the possibility of acquiring bazaar products, household appliances, textiles and holidays. In 2004 there were 860,279 Eroski-Red payment card holders, with a total of 1,006,526 cards, and 621,322 gifts were earned with the Travel Club points card.

In order to keep a permanent communication channel open, we have a free customer help line which has received 56,075 calls, 74% of them being for requests for information, 2% for suggestions, and 24% for incidents or problems.

Reliable products

Guaranteed origin and quality

Product certification and food safety

The strict controls we perform on our products allows us to guarantee our customers food safety and assure maximum quality, accompanied by rigorous information, adjusted to their needs.

Our Quality Policy includes laboratory analysis of products, supplier certification, implementation of quality systems at the distribution platforms and points of sale, and sensory studies and use tests with consumers.

In 2003 a Genetics unit was incorporated to our laboratory, to join the already-existing Chemistry and Microbiology divisions. These three separate, certified units have introduced the following new food safety controls:

  • Eroski product control. New analytical techniques applied to inspection of coastal and shellfish fishing along the whole of the Cantabrian coast, after alarm was generated by the ecological disaster of the Prestige oil spill, and analysis of products containing paprika or other red spices, in response to consumer health doubts.
  • Action in case of food alert. Precise analytical devices enable us to act immediately if any food alerts should occur.
Chemical Unit:
  • Allergen study. Evaluation of any traces of gluten, peanut, milk, egg and soya in foods where it is not indicated among the ingredients but where such substances could be present due to cross-contamination.
  • Specific nutrient campaigns. Analysis of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins in enriched products, to check they are correctly labelled.
Genetics Unit:
  • Detection of pathogens in food matrixes. Quicker identification of the presence of any pathogens, complementing the microbiology unit's analysis.
  • Identification of fish species.. Establishing the identity of species.

In 2004, 7,869 products were analysed, of which 3,992 corresponded to Eroski Natur product microbiology (fruit, vegetables or meat) and 3,877 to other Eroski brand products or special cases where the laboratory considered there may be some doubt regarding quality and health conditions.

To complete the food safety control, hygiene inspections are carried out at the points of sale and at our platforms, particularly those where our meat products are processed.

To complete our commitment to offering healthy, quality consumption, we have organised, for the fourth consecutive year, calls for Grants and Subsidies for research into Bioethics and Business, Health and Nutrition and Food Safety, in addition to the direct backing and support of technology innovation centres, with whom we have started up two new projects as part of our food area R+D Plan:

  • Development of PCR food analysis techniques, with the Gaiker Technology Centre. Laboratory use of techniques for detecting transgenics, salmonella and E.Coli and identifying tuna and sole species.
  • Automated traceability management system for fresh produce sections. Computerised systems for assuring traceability from the fresh produce platforms to the points of sale.
  • Project for innovation in the meat processing, packaging and distributing systems, with Gaiker, Ikerlan and the company Ulma. Improvement in fresh meat processing and packaging processes using a modified atmosphere system, for a greater product quality guarantee and a longer shelf life.
Control of the supply chain

We closely collaborate with our suppliers on product definition, manufacturing procedures which will assure quality standards and logistics management, introducing technology applications such as warehouse radio-frequency, automatic production lines for fresh produce, wireless communication for lorry positioning and high-productivity tools for supplying the different platforms.

In order to guarantee the quality, origin and taste characteristics established for all our products, we have strict control mechanisms. These are even more rigorous for the suppliers of Eroski NATUR fresh produce, which also needs to comply with certification and verification process requirements.

Certification procedure for Eroski NATUR brand suppliers

After the assessment of commercial and logistics variables, the Quality Department checks the supplier control systems by means of an initial audit, in order to guarantee the traceability of the products, compliance with technical and health regulations, the use of a natural production system and compliance with the established requirements. After this verification, we carry out periodical analytical monitoring audits in accordance with a specific Control Plan for each product.

The Idea Sana EROSKI programme: for a healthier lifestyle

The aim of the Idea Sana EROSKI programme, created in 2003, is to encourage our customers to adopt healthy, environmentally friendly and solidarity-minded lifestyle habits for physical, mental and social well-being, as defined by the World Health Organisation. It is a project geared towards consumers who are concerned with well-being, have an interest in social matters and wish to get actively involved with their environment.

Full, useful and reliable information is transmitted by a team of trainers in a friendly, accessible way at the points of sale, with "schools", campaigns, specialised consultancy services and educational activities on health, leisure, food, physical exercise, well-being, the environment and solidarity.

  • The Idea Sana EROSKI Magazine This twice-monthly magazine with a print run of 300,000 issues is a showcase for our activities and news and can be picked up free at our centres. It contains practical information and its content is produced with collaboration from experts.
  • Idea Sana EROSKI Schools These are hour-long meetings held at our shops to inform in a personalised, friendly way of issues such as food and nutrition, food handling, leisure and free time, sport and health, nature and the home. We present 60 themes a year at around 445 meetings, with 15-20 people attending each meeting and a total of 24,250 participants in 2004.
  • Idea Sana EROSKI counselling service. The demand for both general and personalised counselling on specific issues led us to develop this new initiative, visited by over 125,000 consumers the first time it was held. Psychologists and teachers were involved in the Toy Counselling Service, providing information to parents.
  • Idea Sana EROSKI Stands These are located at Eroski hypermarkets and are a back-up for the campaigns carried out and a channel for integrating the new Foundation Member Friends. They were visited by 489,699 customers in 2004.
  • Idea Sana EROSKI collectables and leaflets

    Leaflets to serve as a reminder of the campaigns, with written and graphic information.

  • Idea Sana EROSKI forums

    Conferences with advice from expert professionals in matters relating to health and well-being. This initiative began in April 2004 with the conference "How a newly-born baby adapts to its world", with the professional criteria of pediatricians and specialists of recognised prestige, and it has continued with forums such as:

    • "Dance, bodily balance", with Víctor Ullate in Madrid.
    • "Television and well-being", with Rosa Villacastín in Bilbao.
    • "Sport and Lifestyle", with Blanca Fernández Ochoa in Seville and Juanito Oiarzabal in Málaga.
    • "New Technologies in the Home", with Microsoft in Santander and Logroño.
    • "Lifestyle and happiness", with Luis Rojas Marcos in Seville.
    • "The importance of music", with Fernando Argenta and Inma Shara in Madrid.
    • "The pleasure of reading", with Carmen Posadas in Málaga.

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