Obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 worldwide. The World Health Organisation predicts that diabetes will keep on being the 7th leading cause of death in 2030. Cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 global cause: according to the WHO’s most recent data, an estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2016, representing 31% of all global deaths.

Picture a day in your life: wake up, get the kids ready for school, take a shower, get dressed, go to the office, get a 30-minute work-out in the gym, have lunch, back to work, rush to pick the kids up from school, make a quick run to the supermarket, have the kids showered, help them with homework, cook dinner, have dinner, get the kids to bed, have a glass of wine and fall asleep on the sofa in the first 5 minutes of your favourite TV show. Can you relate with this tape?

jeronimo-martins-blog-our-dnaAfter recovering from that couch-inflicted back pain, rewind that day, play it back and watch it closely, paying attention to details like food, health, exercise, family time, social life, quality, mental health and so on. Unsurprisingly, you will find that something might be missing. More and more people are redefining their lifestyle, but the truth is that modern societies got to a point where those numbers mentioned above can no longer be ignored, nor the lives they’re taking along with them. And even though many people may not be able to change every aspect in their lives, there might be players like us, food retailers, that can help.

In Portugal, the country where the Jerónimo Martins Group was born for the Food Distribution business over 225 years ago, we take a different approach to this way of life, by being active ambassadors and pro-active promoters of the  Mediterranean Diet.

Did you know that the word “diet” comes from the Greek diaita and actually means “way of life”?  In Mediterranean countries, this lifestyle is part of our intangible cultural heritage.

We foster the joy for food, the pleasure of eating together as the foundation of relationships amongst family and friends and the community as a whole.

Moreover, the Mediterranean Diet calls for the consumption of fresh plant-origin food like vegetables, fruit – fresh or dried – low refined cereals, rich in fibre and other oils that can contribute to regulate body functions.

It is also known for a low intake of dairies and very few amounts of meat. Most importantly, this diet uses olive oil a monounsaturated fat as the main ingredient for cooking and seasoning, while highly recommending the consumption of fresh fish. The dishes may be simple but are rich in nutrients and in the right proportions.

So, with over 650,000 people visiting our stores in Portugal every day, we look at food as a mean to a healthier life and as part of our contribution to public health through the Mediterranean Diet.

We do it by developing and offering safe, healthy, nourishing, trustworthy and accessible food products and, by doing so, to foster the prevention and fight against diet-related diseases including obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases.

Reformulating fast-moving consumer goods such as meals, take-away solutions and Private Brand products and those most popular among children, are some of our strategic moves. Within this mindset  we have reduced sugar, salt and fat from our products and brought new ones to the market such as specific dietary-needs product ranges.

jeronimo-martins-blog-our-dnaWe, at the Jerónimo Martins Group, have been on a crusade for more than a decade to provide the adoption of healthier lifestyles, along with a demand for convenient food solutions with balanced nutritional profiles. And while the numbers might speak for themselves, we feel that it is our responsibility to deliver solutions that help those numbers change for the better.

Of course, change is difficult. Everyone knows you can’t change everything at once. But we can do it collectively to achieve real changes! So why don’t you start by gathering your family at the table and seize the opportunity to make some changes to that tape while you’re eating a delicious grilled fish seasoned with olive oil?

This post was written and contributed by:

Carlos Santos
Private Brand Quality and Development Corporate Director
Jerónimo Martins