Euro Trip: Inside the Netherlands' Foodmarkt
As competition in the U.S. grocery sector intensifies, retailers ought to consider looking to their counterparts across the pond for competitive inspiration around store design, merchandising, assortment and more. Presenting the first part of WGB's new European store tour series, Anne-Marie Roerink, principal and founder of 210 Analytics, explores the unique features and retail innovation employed at Foodmarkt in Amsterdam.
Foodmarkt is a new concept by Jumbo, a Netherlands-based grocery chain that mostly runs conventional supermarkets and convenience-type stores. Jumbo has grown from a family-owned regional player into a national operator with a market share in excess of 20% as well as a rapidly growing e-commerce presence.
Foodmarkt stores are large by Dutch standards. There are now six in the Netherlands, all in larger cities in areas that allow for ample parking. The Amsterdam store is in a historic building, featuring many architectural highlights, such as exposed brickwork, natural light and lots of original iron and woodwork. The concept is quite different in European retail in terms of store design, extensive deli-prepared offerings, its setup in fully themed mini stores, its grocery offering and its general look and feel.
A large produce department featuring many locally sourced and seasonal items catches shoppers’ eyes the minute they enter the store. Shoppers have the opportunity to make their own orange juice, while clear, simple POS signage educates shoppers on citrus, tomatoes, apples and other fruit and vegetable varieties.
The store also features the opportunity to pick your own produce and have it cut to order. A large selection of store-made or refrigerated juices and smoothies is also available.
Throughout the produce department, chalkboard-like signage helps shoppers understand the differences between tomatoes, apples, citrus fruit and more.
Carrying the Jumbo private brand, the produce department offers many different produce meal starters, including those for pasta meals, soups, stews and more. The “add yourself” section includes recommendations for meat additions as well as the carbohydrate, such as noodles or rice.
Pick and Choose
Not unlike the craft beer pick-and-choose offerings seen in many U.S. supermarkets, Foodmarkt offers a soda pick-and-choose endcap. Shoppers can pick up to eight cans in whatever variety they’d like.
The impressive wine department merchandises everything from cheaper table wines to higher-end varieties using barrels and shelving along with open brickwork design elements.
From Wine to Cheese
The wine department flows effortlessly into an extensive selection of domestic and foreign cheeses. Party platters feature popular varieties, ready-to-serve and mix-and-match options for olives, salami and other party snack items.
Cheese to Note, Plus Olives and Tapas
Whether or not you'd planned to do any entertaining, Foodmarkt will inspire you to throw a party that evening. The cheese selection continues into nuts and seeds, and from there into olives and tapas dishes.
The patisserie side of the bakery follows the entertainment-ready cheese and tapas counter. Although most items are prepackaged, the clean, modern look is a perfect fit for the store. Each service counter area, like each food station in deli prepared, has its own unique look; service personnel wear aprons and hats matching their respective service area.
Also, this patisserie offers a meal kit for making an apple pie, featuring everything from the dough to the apples and baking pans. Sheer brilliance.
From Patisserie to Bakery
With the open brickwork, large bread ovens, samples and a delicious aroma, the bakery look and feel lends a great deal of authenticity to the bread’s freshness and quality. Guarantees are given that the store should have fresh bread available all day long through closing time. Should the store run out, shoppers are provided with a packaged alternative and a rain check for free fresh bread next time they are in the store.
Deli and Meat Kick Off the Foodservice Section
The bakery flows into deli meat, which flows into deli-prepared meat and poultry with the fresh meat case and counter adjacent to the deli offering. Chicken wings are merchandised in KFC-style round tubs and the rotisserie chickens are free-range.
Seafood: Frozen or Fresh
Across from the meat counter is a large seafood case and counter, featuring a completely different look. Freshly prepared fish is also available for shoppers to mix and match with other foodservice offerings.
Countless Foodservice Options
Seafood and meat are the last of the meal-for-later offerings before shoppers enter a very large, station-based foodservice area. From sandwiches, Asian meals and pizza to sushi and a station solely dedicated to vegan and vegetarian meals, this store has it all.
Stone Oven Pizza
The Italian/pizza counter features fresh ingredients and both ready-made and made-to-order items.
Likewise, the Asian food station offers buffet options and made-to-order wok meals.
Vegan and Vegetarian
Equally big as the sushi or sandwich counters, the store features one meal station dedicated to vegan and vegetarian ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat options. For shoppers who want to eat something in the store’s cafe, the station offers heat-up service. All foods are prepared in the store’s own kitchen.
Integration of plant-based foods has reached whole new levels of popularity in recent years in the Netherlands. And with veganism/vegetarianism being higher in urban areas, this station was a big hit—and draw—among shoppers.
Large Sit-Down Restaurant/Cafe
Whether for a cup of coffee or tea priced at $1, or to eat a meal, the large and very welcoming store-adjacent cafe offers free Wi-Fi, a kids’ corner and many different seating arrangements, as well as a separate room for classes and meetings.
Educational Signage Everywhere
Whether shoppers are buying produce, picking sushi or deciding on coffee or tea, Foodmarkt has signage that is simple, clear and inviting. The cafe sign depicts the most popular coffee-based drinks in an infographic:
- Koffie = coffee
- Warme melk = hot milk
- Heet water = hot water
- Schuim = foamed milk