The chief executive of Portuguese retailer Sonae, Cláudia Azevedo, has said that a "disinformation campaign" is painting supermarkets and hypermarkets as shouldering some of the blame for the high food inflation rates in the country.
In February 2023, general inflation in Portugal stood at 8.2%, compared to 8.4% in January.
The Eco news platform quoted Azevedo as stating that inaccuracies in reporting about the cause of food inflation is causing "serious damage" to the reputation of the grocery retail sector.
Azevedo reportedly made the comments in an email to Sonae employees.
In that email, the CEO acknowledged that food product inflation has been higher than the general average, adding that it is not a problem unique to the distribution sector – rather, the causes are well-identified and associated with production chains globally.
“We too have suffered,” she added.
Read More: Portugal's Finance Minister Says Cutting VAT On Food Not A Priority
'Do What's Right'
Elsewhere in the email, Azevedo expressed concern about the reputation of the Continente team being "attacked" but assured that Sonae will "continue to be a development engine for Portugal".
She emphasised that the company's decisions are guided by its values, and to "do what's right".
Sonae is the parent company of Continente, Continente Modelo, and Continente Bom Dia.
The CEO's reaction came after Portugal's economy minister, António Costa Silva, pledged to be "inflexible" towards all anomalous situations in the food sector, announcing a new operation by the Portuguese Authority for Economic and Food Safety (ASAE) to monitor food prices in hypermarkets and supermarkets.
© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.