Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thick cut marmalade

I met Maggie as she left work today and on the way home we went food shopping. Maggie told me we were saving money because she had some sort of customer loyalty voucher. I suspect we may have saved more by not going in the shop at all though following my plan to its logical conclusion we would starve to death.

Based on a mix of store layout, friendliness, price and choice the shop we went to, Consum, is probably my favourite of the four larger Pinoso supermarkets. Recently I've done more of the food shopping than Maggie so, as we moved around the shop, I was playing the tour guide on new lines and innovations. What I hadn't really noticed, until today, was how many "British" items the shop now carries.

It was around 3pm when we were shopping, a time when most Spanish people are getting their lunch. The only Spaniards in the store were the workers. All of the customers appeared to be Britons. Obviously whoever does the buying for our Consum had noticed this customer profile long before me and that's why Consum sells Cheddar cheese, thick cut marmalade, Sharwoods pastes, chillis, kidney beans, Heinz tomato soup and lots of other Brit familiar produts. I suppose it's why masymas has in store adverts in English too.

Here's a blog entry I thought.

Now as I said there are four biggish supermarkets in Pinoso as well as a couple of local food shops. I thought that if I were going to mention Consum I should do the same for Día, Hiperber and masymas. You might not think so but I try to be reasonably even handed when I write this blog. So I Googled the supermarkets for a bit of background info and I was quite surprised by what I found.

Hiperber is the simplest story. They set up about forty years ago in nearby Elche with a philosophy of larger retail units when other food shops were still pretty small. They tend to be no frills stores and they seem to be doing fine as a small, regional chain.

Día is another no frills business. It runs on a policy of limited product lines and lots of own brands to keep the stores firmly at the cheaper end of the market. I vaguely knew that Día had something to do with the Carrefour chain and that it ran as a franchise operation. It turns out that my Carrefour information is out of date. The businesses separated in 2011 and of the 4,781 Día shops in Spain only around 1,650 are franchises. Día seem to have done alright out of the problems of other food retailers. They bought the ailing Arbol supermarkets for just 1€ in 2014 and, in 2015, they took advantage of the financial problems of the third largest food retailer, Eroski, to buy lots more shops. Eroski had run into problems because of its huge investment in shopping centres at the height of the building boom.

Masymas was a surprise. Más y Más means more and more and I thought that was the name of the shop. Actually the name seems to be masymas - lowercase and just one word. It's not simply one compay either; it's four different companies that have very similar logos and, I think, share some bulk buying, Our local shop is one of fifty seven shops that can trace their roots back to a dried and cured food business that opened in Villajoyosa at the tail end of the 19th Century.

And Consum? Well it's a co-operative with nearly all the workers being partners in the business. Apparently it's the largest co-op in Valencia. They formed in 1975 and were later a founding part of the Eroski group until the two businesses parted ways back in 2004. They also have a franchise arm which trades as Charter supermarkets.

No comments: