Eroski defines itself as a different company in today's business world. Principles such as professional development, social responsibility, innovation and participation have guided Eroski. The co-operative has over 40,000 employees and a sales network of 2,200 stores. It is unusual for such a large company to be owned by its workers.
"Its co-operative nature gives Eroski a strong personality that emanates from its constitution and not from a cyclical and opportunistic marketing perspective," said Iosu Sanz, from Eroski’s Corporate Communication Department. In addition, workers and consumers are both involved in the management of the company as well as in the decision making process, and are full members of the board of directors.
Future plans for expansion
Eroski has plans for further expansion in 2012. "Our horizon today is wider due to the fact that Eroski holds a leadership position within the market, continually increasing its number of establishments and widening its area of activity. Further expansion will be achieved mainly through the franchise, with more than 100 new stores between 2011 and 2012," Iosu Sanz added.
To commemorate the International Year of Cooperatives in 2012 Eroski formalised the creation of two new co-operatives within the Eroski group, which represents the incorporation of other 4,100 workers, as owners who have recently decided to become co-operative partners.
"Without doubt, the best way to practice and to promote the cooperative movement is the one in which people themselves are the protagonists of a business project based upon the rule of one person and one vote, determined therefore by the value of people and not by the capital," Iosu Sanz added.
Eroski has coped very well with the recession. The secret, in the opinion of Iosu Sanz is offering customers products which balance quality and price.
"The fall in consumption has challenged the adaptability of each market. Therefore it is necessary to fill our shelves with leading brands as well as with our own labels in a 70-30 balance that enables customers to chose from a wider variety od products when deciding what to purchase. Furthermore, placing the emphasis on healthier alternatives develops a new range of products within our own brand, very committed to healthier nutrition.
"This also provides the Spanish market with a new labelling of nutritional traffic light colours, artificial trans-fat products and products 30% lower in salt, sugar and fat or containing more fibre. Similarly, Eroski is concerned with trying to ensure a greater presence of local producers in order to generate a higher quality of fresh products, boosting wealth within the production environment," Iosu Sanz said.
Ever since it was established 43 years ago, Eroski has been allocating 10% of its profits to the community through Foundation Eroski. This on average totals 7 million euros and is distributed to three main areas: consumer information through the magazine and online channel, solidarity and the environment.