Aware of the growing fresh food trend, a Canadian-run grocery chain has opened a concept store, Sobeys Extra, in Burlington, Ontario. The new site boasts an on-site chef who will offer cooking classes, as well as a cheese specialist who will be able to help shoppers with the large variety of cheeses and a dietician to provide nutritional information. This new location can provide grocers with inspiration for how to make their own stores innovative through additional services and food equipment.
As wonderful as local cooking classes may be, it may not be a viable option at the moment. Therefore, it’s important to glean inspiration from Sobeys Extra and implement whatever practices are doable. Other features of the concept store are a wider range of diet-specific foods such as gluten-free and sugar-free offerings, as well as an expanded variety of organic products. Additionally, the deli boasts humane meats and customized cuts for any occasion. Both the cheese and deli departments will have specialty items and different samples on a daily basis. The produce section will have prepared portions for diners on the go.
Implementing new ideas
It may be difficult to offer custom cuts of meat to consumers. However, it’s not hard to offer a variety of samples daily. Calculate the cost and determine whether it’s a viable step to take. You don’t have to offer sample meats and cheese. You can alternate between the two departments. That way, it will be easier to offer a variety of samples daily.
For self-serve stations, look into the Expressly HUBERT® Portable Sampling Center, which has a dome to help keep the food clean, a napkin holder for convenience and a waste bin to maintain cleanliness. You’ll have to ensure that there’s a staff member available to keep an eye on the unit to ensure that it’s constantly filled and that the wastebasket is emptied regularly.
Alternatively, you can have a sample stand staffed by an employee. This will provide shoppers with a great sample as well as human interaction. The Marco Drop Leaf Sample Stand is a mobile fixture that can be easily moved from one area to another, and its folding leaves make the unit compact for storage and for use in smaller areas.
As with any concept reveal, it’s wise to take notes and try to incorporate similar ideas to keep with trends.