Cooking – for whom?

You might have noticed the increased awareness and interest in the whole essence of food: balanced and healthy diets, a dedicated craftsmanship of culinary art, a revival of rural fascination, organic and local shopping etc. And on top of that, an explosion of cooking shows, conceptual restaurants, and a young urban population who find it trendy to grow their own herbs and stuff their own sausages. Never before have consumers been as selective, interested, and passionate about food – or so quick to embrace new trends and niche ingredients.

Foodism and technological evolution

As long as such global cult of foodism continues to drive consumers it is ever more important to be compelling with new experiences, retail theatre, new ingredients and restaurant concepts. This type of movement combined with fast digital and technological evolution will impact food retailers since customers have new ways of approaching food in addition to cooking.

Furthermore the increased competition from online retailers and convenience stores force supermarkets to innovatively attract shoppers.

A paradigm shift

Maybe it is time to rethink the way we look at food retailing, as we are experiencing a huge paradigm shift concerning everything from how to attract shoppers, what foods are purchased, and why, to where the purchases actually take place.

Pretty soon your local grocery shop will not only provide groceries; they will also tempt you with interactive app functions, in-store nutritionists, restaurants and bars: everything to create an enjoyable shopping experience for busy and stressed inhabitants.

Expanded idea of supermarkets

Traditionally supermarkets are generally divided into categories and departments. Is it time to expand the idea of a supermarket and consider a more holistic and innovative approach of how it does, or does not, meet the lifestyle and nutrition needs of the shoppers?

Is it time to view the physical and virtual shops as an integrated structure to provide a widespread experience of taste, wellness and enjoyment rather than a group of non-related departments? An ideal scenario would be a shopper feeling and believing that the shop is designed for him/her – that is, friendlier, personal and interactive.


Despite of the new “womenomics” revolution in which women control more than 80 % of the purchases in the US, men’s influences over food related purchases is increasing. They have become more powerful in the kitchen, cooking and planning the meals, and are consequently also spending more time in supermarkets.

This has influenced food retailers to modify their environment and start targeting men. Some supermarkets even have experimented with “man aisles” filled with male-oriented food, and promotions to target and trigger impulse shopping.


Increased urbanisation, large cities of concrete, pollution, and overcrowding have made citizens long for the opposite: the authentic rural roots. To live in the big city but live as an agriculturalist, to abandon the city chic and to make a living in a much simpler world. This is increasingly demonstrated through a greater interest in sustainability, growing your own herbs, and purchasing locally produced groceries and products that are supporting the local economy.

Such rural interest not only impacts what types of groceries are being displayed but also how the groceries and foods are stored in the shops. We are seeing trends towards more rural aesthetics, with natural materials that seek to resemble a more rustic space. Larger chains such as Tesco have understood this trend and have bought more authentic brands such as Harris + Hoole and Giraffe to fulfil such customer needs.

The millennials & digital generation

The increasingly aging population of the “baby boom” generation might have great economic power; still, it is time to take a look at the consumers of tomorrow, because they will become increasingly influential. Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2001, are often passionate about food, but also concerned about where it’s from and how it’s prepared. Nevertheless, studies have showed that Millennials are deal-seekers and are much more focused on finding the lowest price over brand loyalty.

Then again those born in the 21st century – the skilled digital generation effortlessly integrating with the tablet screen in their hands, expect retail brands to engage them with responsive technology that eases the purchasing process and inspires them.