In-store in the Netherlands: five things we learned

Date : 28 June 2018

We’ve been in-store in the Netherlands this week, seeing some of the latest stores and updating our market knowledge. Here are our five top learnings:

1. The Netherlands continues to lead the way in fresh food solutions

Across each of the stores we visited, the range of freshly prepared meals, as well as - in the case of Albert Heijn in particular – fresh to prepare meals, stood out to us, offering learnings around product, presentation and merchandising that many across Europe can learn from. Albert Heijn’s range of Allerhande meal kits form a part of this, but with a range of produce-focused packs designed with the ingredients for guacamole, bruschetta or soups, it’s taken this principle further than most.  This is helping the likes of Jumbo and Albert Heijn to better differentiate their offer from Aldi and Lidl.

2. The Dutch approach to counters has relevance for many markets

Counters are a core feature in many stores. But the focus on making these self-serve, with staff behind the counter focused on preparing and making food rather than serving customers, boosts the efficiency while maintaining the relationship with food preparation in-store.

3. Jumbo’s latest Foodmarkt opening is a major step forward for the format

The integration of La Place into Jumbo is already delivering significant benefits, and these are effectively demonstrated in this latest format store from Jumbo in Leidsche Rijn, near Utrecht. At its heart, this has significantly enhanced the foodservice proposition, adding more elements to this and more meal solutions. But it’s also delivering many wider benefits. These include upgrades in premium bakery, and the integration of La Place products, on an exclusive basis, into the coffee bean range.  Extensive signposting throughout the store helps to strengthen the connection between the two brands in the eyes of the customer, creating the platform for even deeper integration in the future.

We track Albert Heijn’s format development closely, as the retailer has a strong reputation for innovation. And this latest, smaller format supermarket in Hoofddorp, shows a continuation of many existing initiatives as well as the rollout of a number of new ones. For us, the wider fresh section was a key highlight, with exemplary produce supported by relevant digital messaging on screens in different parts of the store.

5. Stach Food offers great format innovation in the retail/ food-to-go fusion space

Stach Food is a chain of 15 stores, most of which are in Amsterdam, with a focus on premium, artisan food lines as well as extensive food-to-go. We visited its latest format, on Bilderdijkstraat, following its opening last week. We were impressed at the combination of speciality food retail, food-for-now, and in-store seating designed to encourage dwell time. In-store booths, which can be reserved in advance, are equally suited to business meetings during the day and meeting friends over a drink in the evening.  This is very much on trend with what we are seeing across a number of markets, as the boundaries between retail and foodservice increasingly blur. This is very much a proposition that straddles both sides.

Look out for our forthcoming store visit reports on both Jumbo Foodmarkt Leidsche Rijn and Albert Heijn Hoofddorp. And, if you want us to guide you around some of Amsterdam’s best concepts, get in touch with [email protected] to find out more about how our retail safari service can help you to unlock innovation. 

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