UK Supermarket Waitrose opens a farm store to showcase produce grown on its 4000-acre estate farm in South England. In a bold brand move, UK’s Waitrose have reinforced their ‘fresh food’ credentials with a gesture that will be hard to top by opening their first Farm Shop.
The key to the concept is Waitrose’s own 4,000-acre farm estate in Hampshire, where much of the produce on sale in their farm shop is sourced. The farm shop is an outlet located at The Leckford Estate, which will sell a range of more than 1,000 homegrown products including fresh meats and cheeses, bread, chutneys and a specially selected range of wine. Leckford is a genuine working farm producing arable crops, including high quality wheat which is used to make a range of Leckford-branded flour and rapeseed oil. The farm also supplies milk, honey apples, pears, apple juice, cider and chestnut mushrooms as well as Leckford free range chickens and eggs which are already sold in Waitrose branches. In a move that proudly trumpets local over global, the shop has sourced goods entirely from the Estate and from more than 60 local suppliers in the region. With a store footprint of just 165 square metres and with a strong emphasis on a relatively small range of locally and regionally sourced food with the bulk of the products coming from within a 30-mile radius of
the estate, the concept has the authenticity of a grass-roots retail business.
So how does a large, National supermarket even begin to think and act like a local food retailer?
Iain Dalton, head of the Leckford Estate, said: “Waitrose is in a very fortunate position to have its own farm, and the new shop, which is totally unique for Waitrose, can showcase not just the food produced on the estate, but allow outstanding local and regional food producers to flourish. The shop will sell the highest quality food and if something proves popular, there is the potential for it to be sold more widely.”
Much the same as the supermarket category in Australia, other supermarkets in the UK have been taking steps to emphasise their links with farmers and the connection between the products they sell and their source. But unlike our big two supermarket brands in Australia, Waitrose has been actively and diligently working towards establishing itself as the ‘deluxe grocer’ with its deeds. Wairose recently acquired ‘The Good Food Guide’. The supermarket chain saw the restaurant guide as a key plank in their brand strategy to align Waitrose as a centre of excellence for food. The Good Food Guide is joins ‘Waitrose Kitchen’ and ‘Waitrose Weekend publications’, and ‘Waitrose TV’ as significant content channels that work alongside brand alignments such as the ‘Heston from Waitrose’ range of products endorsed by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal to actively build the brand meaning with their consumers.
Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas said: “We aim to be the go-to shop for food lovers, and becoming the publisher of this well-loved guide will continue to develop our brand as an authority on good food.”
Importantly The Farm Shop has a much grander role to play in the Waitrose branding than just another outlet. The farm shop will play a critical role in demonstrating the dirt under the fingernails of the supermarket/food brand is genuine. Waitrose intend to distribute popular products from The Farm Shop more widely to its 280 branches throughout the UK, providing an authentic and potentially highly valuable new brand for the supermarket chain’s private label strategy.
This story was spotted on the awesome PSFK blog: www.psfk.com
Images courtesy of the Waitrose website.