Carlos Santos

Private Brand Development and Quality Director at the Jerónimo Martins Group

3 minutes

The democratisation of access to quality food is one of the purposes of the Jerónimo Martins Group, and its Private Brand products is its highest expression of this. With over 3 700 food distributions stores across three countries, we are responsible for the daily food needs of 5 million people who trust the food quality and safety of our products. The recognition of the role that food habits play in preventing diseases such as diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and cardiovascular illnesses is one of the factors that move us. That’s why we are committed to promoting Health through Food. Aware of this responsibility, in 2009 we began a process of continuous improvement of the nutritional value of our produce – according to a detailed plan and in line with the priorities set by the World Health Organization – and the results to date enable us to prove that we have contributed in a very positive way to the health of our consumers.

Our performance strategy is guided by three main goals – using genuine and high-quality ingredients, continuously improving nutritional values, and disclosing full, up-to-date and correct information about our products’ composition. In terms of the ingredients we use, the biggest challenge we face today is fighting fraud consisting of replacing ingredients with similar, lower-quality ones. Thanks to increasingly more advance methods of analysis – including non-directional molecular biology, for example – we are now in a better position to guarantee the authenticity of our products.

We are now in a better position to guarantee the authenticity of our products.

Continuously improving nutritional values is a gradual process which relates mostly to mass consumption products – for their general positive effect –, such as products aimed at children and those which might be perceived by the consumer as healthy. In terms of reformulation, our efforts are focussed on reducing salt, fats, saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, sugar and additives, on developing free-from and light products, and on products aimed at alternative consumption. Any reformulations are compared with the non-reformulated product by consumer panels through blind-testing, and lower ratings are not acceptable.

Carrying out these reformulations is an exercise in resilience which requires commitment from both our teams and suppliers. Lastly, how important informed buying is for us. Transparency is in Jerónimo Martins’s DNA and the information we disclose to our customers is a testament to that. All quality, nutritional or health claims in our branded products are validated periodically by accredited laboratories. All ingredients in our products are declared, regardless of their percentage, which goes beyond legal requirements. As food specialists, we believe that this is the only way to play an influencing part which truly contributes to improving the quality of life of the people in our societies.