Consumer trends are taking a new direction marked by a return to the origins and responsible purchasing, with the desire to value quality over quantity and a commitment to natural and sustainable products.
Social awareness is growing and, as consumers, we are increasingly aware that natural resources are finite and that, therefore, their use should also be finite. We are at a point of no return, with high levels of pollution that end up affecting, directly or indirectly, the production and consumption of food. Faced with this context, a growing part of the business fabric is turning away from the path of industrialisation to return to the origins and opt for the only path with an assured future: sustainability.
- Proximity sale: from the field to the table
Organic sales, proximity sales, zero kilometre sales… these are concepts that we have increasingly internalised and which refer to the sale of products, mainly agri-foodstuffs, from a perspective that is as respectful as possible to the environment. The aim is for sales to be direct to the end consumer or through a single intermediary, for the production process to limit the use of chemical products as much as possible and for the distribution system not to lose either quality or value. In fact, proximity selling is a concept as old as mankind, but nowadays there are few, although there are more and more, companies that are committed to this type of trade and are distancing themselves from the line of the large producers, marked by an increasingly accelerated and dehumanised pace of competitiveness.
Currently, in Catalonia, the transparency portal lists more than 3,000 producers involved in local sales, a figure that illustrates the large amount of supply existing throughout the territory and, therefore, the growing demand from the population, which increasingly prioritises making a purchase with values rather than being a merely mass-market purchase.
- La Tavella, an example of ecology, proximity and social commitment
La Tavella is an example of this change in trend. Sustainable and socially committed, the company was founded in 2006 with a clear mission that has been maintained over time: to create jobs for people with disabilities and mental disorders through the marketing of organic food products. The Viver del Bell-lloc Foundation was the promoter of the project, which was joined a few years later by the Santo Tomás – PARMO Association. Both entities share the vision of the project and join forces to make it grow year after year.
Today, fifteen years after its creation, what was intended to be a sales channel for organic vegetables has ended up being much more than that, to the extent that you can find almost any kind of basic products such as meat, eggs, bread or milk, all certified as organic products. Fruit and vegetables continue to be the most widely sold organic product, accounting for 80% of total sales. In this sense, customers are also positively influenced by the transparency of information, as customers know the origin of their products at all times. Without going any further, 40% of the production comes from the company’s farms throughout Catalonia, while the rest is managed via trusted, local producers. A fact that shows, once again, that the values that the brand wants to transmit are not through a label but through real facts, working and taking care of all the processes day by day to make it possible.
- Values that mark
Being a committed company means creating a sufficiently solid business fabric so that any of the agents involved can express this idea in each of their actions. From the workers, to production, to the sales system, distribution or communication. A sustainable company must be sustainable in each and every step, and it is only by analysing the company as a whole that it can be shown what it is, and above all, what it is for, and it is the daily actions that will validate this idea or deny it with their ideals.
But does it pay off to go for sustainability in today’s market? Its case shows that it does, and very much so. The company ended last year with a turnover of over one million euros, 4.17% more than the previous year, according to its manager, Alfredo Resines. The commitment to responsible purchasing, added to the pandemic and the increase in online sales, meant growth for the company, which tripled the number of customers in one year. Achieving this means knowing customers’ needs very well and, as far as possible, personalising the experience. An increasingly recurrent system to achieve a personalised but profitable treatment for the company is the subscription system, a method that La Tavella has also incorporated and which allows customers to choose the type of basket they want to receive each month. Convenience and flexibility without leaving home, two qualities that characterise today’s consumer, highly influenced by new technologies and with an ease for online shopping.
- Social media, the speaker for social projects
For La Tavella, like so many other projects, having an online sales channel has meant a considerable strategic change that has opened the doors to a much more attractive, but also competitive, market. Dissemination is key in these cases, as the web has become the biggest shop window in the world. What does not appear on the networks, does not exist. And in the case of La Tavella the challenge was twofold, on the one hand to sell the products themselves, and on the other, and more importantly, to sell the values behind the project, its raison d’être.
There is no doubt that in this case this has been achieved and a job well done, based on honesty and sustainability, has borne fruit that the public has been able to appreciate. Once again, it is demonstrated that in the digital world words are needed, but also deeds. This is how a small project sets a trend in the social sphere, demonstrating that another way of working and relating to the environment is possible and that a commitment to sustainability is undoubtedly the most attractive strategy for the future.