Home and Away From Home are part of the same company

The economic volume of foodstuffs in Spain continues to be one of the largest and most voluminous in our national production, approaching 10% of the total at the PVP level; about 100,000 million calculated by our Ministry of Agriculture which are divided into two thirds for the world of detail -supermarkets and hypermarkets- from which households obtain supplies for breakfast, lunch or dinner in private kitchens, lounges and dining rooms, and another third for restaurants, catering, out-of-home catering, Outside the house Where off trade.

Both rivers have, as we know, their particularities. That of detail, steep, with rapid waters and few meanders, it is mainly promoter, with tight margins and carried by a constant agitation between operators and suppliers, as well as endless debates about brand -yes/brand no-. Lots of goods and less money. The bottom is sandy, the result of constant wear and extreme racing conditions.

Restoration, with many tributaries, is calmer, cleaner waters, and rocky bottoms. Ideal for footbaths and quiet camping alongside.

That of detail it has huge operators (the largest of them with a share of over 25%), large sales volumes and a hyper-competitive nature; that of the horeca, much more traditional, fragmented and respectful of brands -in fact, worthy of the attribute that the big brands are created and developed there-.

Exaggerated competition from supermarkets and hypermarkets has meant that fuel has been scarce for years and that the over-exploited lands -although fertilized- no longer yield to the growing expansion demanded by large companies. Growing up is an obligation for them, and if it is not fulfilled, there is a risk of beheading CEOs and crashing stock prices.

Among the competitors at the top of the table, the fierce struggle means that there is always someone who ends up paying the price, once and for another year after year. Some time ago it was the turn of the hypermarkets, due to the apparent exhaustion of the business model, then it was bad years for eroskiafter caprabo -before and after sale- and lately who received was rather Dia…

Paradoxically, the big ones leave gaps which are filled by those from below, these “locals” more capable of adapting to idiosyncrasies and better mastered in the management of the fruit, vegetable, meat and fresh fish departments.

For years, many qualified and expert voices – mine included, albeit far from it – predicted that restaurants would be like “traditional” stores: they would eventually cut back on weight and focus on large corporate groups. . Some of that happened, of course, albeit at a moderate speed – compared to detail-.

It is evident that the big chains are proliferating and gaining share -if not check the latest report from Marcas de Restauración- and it is also evident that the local chains are starting to consolidate in the middle band, consolidating 10, 20 and even 30 establishments, focused on efficiency and speed, resulting in the renunciation of homemade -with a taste of home-, artisanal and proximity…

However, the number of bars and restaurants per capita is still the highest in the world. Neither the closure nor the enforced restrictions ensured the worst forecasts. In the midst of the pandemic, it was expected that up to 30% of the premises would close permanently and sales would hardly pick up.

Well, with the data first quarter of 2022, with few holidaymakers or business and trade show visitors, announced sales match those of 2019 despite the blinds being lowered by 10%. This self-sustaining, crisis-resistant wild boar line is very difficult to overthrow and change.

For the traditional restaurants the war has two fronts:

  1. The one with the big chains. These verified that the level of concentration was low but that there were many citizens ready to sacrifice the singularity and the menu of a life for the price, the homogeneous quality, the theme and the salubrity. It started with the weekends food court du Center Commercial, continued frugal lunchtimes and was reinforced at all hours with the delivery pandemic.
  2. That of the supermarkets. They have seen for years that the catering industry is an opportunity, even if it is not clear who they are in direct competition with, whether with the chains or rather with the traditional companies. The “hyper-efficient” model they follow makes it very difficult for independent clients to prefer it, especially those related to extended homes, proximity and even personal and friendly relationships… That’s why , for years, supermarket and hypermarket chains -especially Mercadona- have been responsible for cleaning up part of the sales floor which is growing due to the constant filtering of references and brands… And the truth is that Only they know how they are…

The theory tells us that making “ready to eat” can mean increasing sales at the expense of part of the restaurant’s offering, with very little harm to the retail business itself.


The truth is that the pandemic has added many questions. Mainly that of delivery and that of working from home. The latter seems to become food for the other. No one without a vocation as a chef likes to cook every day. People who are not very concerned with household chores and who have forced their way into their homes are demanding a solution to the “overworkand, in order not to cook every day, they throw the delivery. In the data currently being published, the interrelation is confirmed: home delivery is deflating as work from home declines.

In this context, it is undeniable that the boundaries that characterize eating inside and outside the home are blurring. It is the same subject that consumes them that crosses them without stopping. The fact is that the monothematic definition of bidders has changed: before they are at home or away from home. Today, going to the supermarket to buy for consumption at home can end up eating away from home – whether stopping in the after-dining room or serving ready-to-eat meals at home. ‘exterior of the store-. And it will be necessary to understand that the nature of the job is as follows: some of our food needs are met at the cinema, others on the road -motorway, train, plane…-, others during concerts and musical events, sport, at the gym, at the usual restaurant, the special… or simply at home. Companies dedicated to the study of the consumer or to their service must have a global vision. Only then is it possible to understand it.

I think we will have to relearn: no matter who is involved in marketing, the customer is the same for all agri-food manufacturers – neither the supermarket, nor the wholesaler, nor the chef, nor the fast food chain- : the final consumer.


This item is included in the 2022 Innovation Yearbook by Food Retail & Service, an exclusive book that you can download directly and free of charge here

The directory, in interactive ebook format, contains the best analysis of 40 experts selected to grow in mass consumption and was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of Campofrío, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé, ARAVEN OM – Retail Equipment, Coinstar Spain, SDG Group Iberia, and support from other advertising companies


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