Retailers Can Be A Star in the Food Craze

The Lempert Report
August 09, 2016

There is no doubt that our food culture has exploded and flourishes through mediums such as entertainment and social media.

There’s a food “holiday” (or more) for almost every day of the year, a festival in every town across America paying tribute to a variety of cuisines and crops, there’s #foodporn of course, and our TV channels are filled with cooking/food centric shows featuring both celebrity chefs and the amateurs.  

Food brings people together, evokes emotions and memories, and helps make connections. So what could this mean for retailers?  

We’ve put together 6 ideas for your stores to evoke passion and to enhance the shopping experience:

1.    The staff of every supermarket, small market, convenience store, grocerant, and others…have the opportunity throughout the day to easily connect with customers on a much more personal level than going through the checkout motions. Shoppers will become more loyal if they leave with an experience that made them feel like they are building a relationship with their store, and the staff cares about them. 

2.   Do you know why the new 365 Whole Foods Concept store is playing The Smiths in store? Because the 80s band has now become popular all over again with hip Millennials, and they want to attract a different customer than those who listen to  the same old Barry Manilow, Billy Ocean, Mariah Carey and Paula Abdul playlist that stores have been hosting for years. Pay attention to your shoppers and tailor playlists that would appeal to them. 

3.   Every time your store creates a special tasting event, there’s an opportunity to talk with customers about what they like and don’t like, share some food facts or preparation tips, or simply exchange a little small talk for a personal connection. Free bites ALWAYS works.

4.    As Retail Dietitians become more important to the shopping experience in stores across the country, customers will begin to appreciate even more than availability of an RD to help guide their shopping, learn more about food choices and nutrition, and give the store an opportunity to know them more and what their personal diet needs involve. Visit for success stories. 

5.    What type of vibe does your store have? Is it one that feels friendly, warm and calming, making shopping a possible relaxing and enjoyable experience. Is it easy to navigate? Are checkout lanes efficient and modern? Do the different departments of the store have their own unique experience as if acting as micro-stores? If the store feels static and one-dimensional throughout, shoppers may get bored and rush through their list, resulting in smaller basket sizes.  

6.    Social Media - Never underestimate the power of a social media presence. Look how the leader of Turkey was able to undermine a massive coup through an iphone video calling his nation to the streets. The great thing about digital interactions is there’s plenty of room for creative and free marketing. Does you store have a rockstar butcher or pastry chef? Let the world know about them again and again. 

Everyone is talking about the foodie crazed population and how it translates to photography, film and television, books, chefs, restaurants, food trucks,… we may be missing out on the most important, and most significantly positioned, player in making connections through food - the retailer.