We are possibly facing a new challenge for our organisation and the sector in general, namely to meet the needs of more demanding and informed consumers. It is no longer enough to offer them a tasty, cheap and instantly recognisable product. In addition to the organoleptic properties of the fruits and vegetables they consume, today’s customers want to know certain attributes such as: provenance; if they are environmentally sustainable, both on the level of the CO2 emitted and how they are packaged; whether it is recyclable or biodegradable, and if they are fair trade.
El Corte Inglés analyses consumer demand by listening to its customers, since it is the only way to know the reasons why they choose the products in their shopping baskets, or why they like a certain brand, and bases its policy on what reinforces that purchase action, and how often, in its outlets.
Internally speaking, we are consistent with respect to the products chosen according to the customers we address and externally we communicate the benefits and attributes of our fruits and vegetables.
Throughout the last year we have continued to search for new varieties in mature categories such as watermelons and melons, citrus fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, etc., looking for a different and unique flavour, and giving the consumer the most varied information regarding properties and different culinary uses.
In terms of children's food, we have developed a line of peeled and puréed fruit under the brand names Chulifruta (a tub of peeled fruit that includes a children's workshop activity) and Rechupete (peeled vegetable for purées and ready to boil, in collaboration with the University of Valladolid).
El Corte Inglés website has been updated with more appealing new images; the benefits of the fruit and vegetables offered in the store are highlighted; information is given on seasonal products so that the customer consume the fruit that is being promoted, and the exclusive brands are shown.
To combat food waste, in terms of packaging, the company has adapted the grams offered and the number of pieces based on the current demographic situation of the composition of households and consumer demands. In order to care for and be respectful of the environment, biodegradable and recyclable trays have been introduced.
El Corte Inglés Group continues to offer the customer three sales formulas so that any consumer feels identified and we continue to be their best purchase option for quality and price.
At the traditional counter, customers will find a professional who can advise them on the best purchase option, offer the ripeness they want and point out the recognised and relevant brands.
The refrigerated display counter and shelving offers a wide assortment where different products with exclusive flavours can be found such as seedless grapes, red fruits, avocados, strawberries, salads and ready-to-eat peeled fruit, etc. The self-service assortment has more than 80 basic basket benchmarks all of excellent quality and competitively priced.
Our most recent concept is ‘La Biosfera’, which is being promoted by giving it more space, dramatisation and incorporating a town square of fresh produce.
Furthermore, certain stores are being redefined and restructured to ensure that El Corte Inglés continues to grow and add value to the economic development of our region. Over the past year, six SuperCor supermarkets have been opened and other neighbourhood-format openings are foreseen for the near future. Elsewhere, certain investments are being made in the refurbishment of stores in order to bring them into line with new consumer needs.
Every day, El Corte Inglés works on customer loyalty and growth; the satisfactory shopping experience at our stores; the offer of recognised brands; a wide assortment at competitive prices; enhancing the online channel; the opening of new neighbourhood supermarkets; differentiation of our selection by quality and taste; convenience and proximity; sustainability in the future development of new products; and profitability.
Jacinto Fernández Sastre