What Billionaires Should Do When Not Running For President

The Lempert Report
March 08, 2016

Exploring the new store called easyfoodstore with the slogan “no expensive brands, just food honestly priced.”

I love this story. EasyJet’s founder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou has opened a grocery store in West London, the area that has the highest proportion of people from non-white backgrounds and with the highest percentage of residents not born in the UK. His intention is to serve just the poorest neighborhoods in the UK. Similar to the US effort to put supermarkets in food deserts – but there is one major difference. It is not a typical supermarket with typical food prices. It’s not about availability, its about price.

The store is called easyFoodstore and carries the slogan “no expensive brands, just food honestly priced” and sells non-name branded foods at a fixed price. In February the price was 36 cents each – or 25 pence. The store is stocked with foods including coffee, pasta, cookies, bread, soup, canned vegetables, potatoes, orange juice and sugar. The 25 pence is just an introductory deal, and the billionaire expects prices to rise to about double – or just 71 cents an item. Still a far cry from the retail prices at other UK food stores including Aldi and Lidl which are also known for their private brands, no frills environments and cheap, but not this cheap, pricing.

Haji-Ioannou has some limited experience in food – he has distributed food for free to the poor in Greece and Cyprus through a charitable operation; and he vows to keep the easyFoodstore open even if it operates at a loos, funding the difference. Much like Richard Branson’s Virgin Brand and Uber’s Travis Kalanick he sees “easy” as a lifestyle brand – but this brand is for those who according to him are the “unwaged or low waged living around Park Royal, and interesting tidbit as one third of all food consumed in London, according to The Daily  Telegraph, is produced in Park Royal. Obviously he understands supply chain.