A Netflix way to help shoppers diversify their foods

December 20, 2012

People want new looks and tastes to stimulate their palates. Here’s a novel way to help them.

People eat at home more. Yet they tire of the same meals and would value a program that brings zestful items to their dinner tables.

Supermarkets should consider feeding consumers sample sizes of new food products in a Netflix subscription type of service mailed to their homes for a reasonable fee, The Lempert Report suggests. Supermarkets could edit the selections (based partly on manufacturer financial support and partly on innovative appeals). If enough customers who trial products like them, they earn planogram space; if not, they’ve had a better than fair shot. Add special discounts for frequent cardholders, and the program encourages more buying by some of the store’s most productive shoppers.

It can work, we believe, in categories that enliven meals. Our starter list:  cheeses, beers, hot sauces, ice creams, olive oils, wines, and fruits in peak season. Stores in different parts of the nation can expand and tailor this list to include regional and local food products. In our view, they should be superior quality and the kinds of tastes that people like to experiment with.

Recently, Lacquerous launched a Netflix model for nail polish—because women like to rotate into new colors and rarely finish their own bottles before moving onto the next new look. According to a Fast Company account, each subscriber pays “$18 a month for a choice of three nail colors that can be returned and exchanged for new hues."

By delivering a similar diversity in foods, supermarkets could stimulate customer palates.