Ignacio González, CEO of Nueva Pescanova, was ratified this Wednesday as president of the mass consumer association Aecoc, which brings together 31,000 companies, during the general assembly. Javier Campo, what has been at the forefront of the association for a decade who was born with the barcode, will continue as vice president for two years in what seems like a leisurely replacement. González has referred in his first intervention to the role that the mass consumption sector should play in the post-Covid period. Not only because it accounts for 25 percent of Spanish GDP, but because “we must claim ourselves as economy tractor after the health crisis. As has happened during the pandemic – he added – we have guaranteed supplies, we now have to activate the recovery without waiting for aid from the sky, although if they arrive, they will be welcome.
In this sense, González has announced the creation of a technical office to manage Next Generation funds «and any other fund that help the worst hit sectors, with the idea of being catalysts or accelerators of the funds, although our priority is to accelerate the sector because it will be difficult for someone to come and lead the recovery as we did during the pandemic. The new president has made his own the strategic plan promoted by Javier Campo, that he is a director of CaixaBank, and that it has been extended until 2023, and has focused on anticipating and adapting the regulatory framework, which “has to do with two units: the external market unit, and the internal action unit, working together to anticipate legislative changes.
The new president of Aecoc has highlighted the leadership of the sector and that it is essential to work to reactivate and stimulate an economy that in 2020 it has seen 207,000 companies disappear, 323,000 freelancers and that has lost 11 percent of GDP. “If the forecasts are met, we will witness a progressive recovery in which we will not recover the GDP that we had before the crisis (2019) until 2023,” he stressed. For this reason, he considers that Aecoc’s priority is to help accelerate the economic reactivation process.
New shopping habits
He also wanted to address the challenges posed by the changes that Covid-19 operates in purchasing and consumption habits, clearly marked by the reduction of current spending in families, the digitization of interactions with the consumer and the lifestyle changes that telework entails. Hence also the importance of deepening digital capabilities and omnichannel, as well as sustainability, traceability and operational efficiency and excellence.
In a scenario of significant challenges for the sector, Ignacio González highlighted the need for financing and liquidity that companies have – which is accompanied by a significant risk of insolvency – and the importance of betting on a flexible work model that facilitates hiring. In addition, according to the president of Aecoc, Aecoc companies will have to operate in a context of great regulatory pressure, especially on issues related to the environment.
Achieve data quality
For his part, Javier Campo has taken stock of the results of the strategic plans implemented during his time at the helm of Aecoc and has recognized a single “frustration in achieving higher data quality”. Looking to the future, Campo has considered that both the association and the mass consumer sector as a whole They are challenged to improve their data management. “Guaranteeing the quality of the data is an inexcusable objective and the sector must consider a global change that leads to improve this aspect to ensure the traceability of the data throughout the entire value chain,” he emphasized.
In his opinion, focusing on the evolution of the environment and the needs of the associates has been the key to the association’s growth. And, in 2013 – coinciding with its first strategic plan – Aecoc had 25,299 associated companies, while at the end of 2020 it brought together 31,305 companies. Of this, 56.90 percent corresponds to the food sector and the remaining 43.10 percent to other professional sectors (drugstore and perfumery, hardware and DIY, health, technological consumer goods …). Of the total number of companies, 85 percent are SMEs.