I’d rather go to a supermarket than a football match
A cultural, social and personal barometer.
I love supermarkets, it’s a small obsession of mine to visit a supermarket, large or small, in the UK or abroad – as much as any other destination while on holiday, I have to visit a supermarket. It has become a cultural barometer that reflects a nation in it’s brands, it’s become a highlight of my week to go and spend a couple of hours roaming the aisles to view the vast array of products available. The variety of packaging that draws your attention and makes you want to pick up and touch – inspiring taste or picturing somewhere where you might want to eat, or evoking memories of where you might have last eaten it. It’s the physiological strength of smell and taste, evoking memories from child hood or holidays. Though emotions can run both ways, positive or negative enabling you to like or dislike like a product instantly …
To compare and study new products weather it’s an iron, a new cereal product or an item of clothing. I like to stand and watch other people shop, what they buy and why, observe their stacked trolleys and picture what type of house they are going to and how they will consume all the items. Watching the products stream down the conveyor belt to live its short life in a fridge – the most personal place in your home? I think so, with RFID becoming commonplace fridges will be connected to your social network to reveal who you really are!
The logistics amaze me. How the products get to the shelf, a selection from all over the world …. supported by a huge network, all connected and working efficiently to the second with minimal time and produce wasted. With most consumers becoming conscientious of where the products come from and Fair Trade regulations are more dominant, it’ll be interesting to see how technology could make this less / easier – build customer to producer relationship. [A barometer of social issues - green, local produce, Fair Trade, air miles, origins. Economics - credit crunch, price cuts, promos ... Cultural and lifestyles - changing cultural and social attitudes, ready meals, meals for one. Ethnics - how does it define our identity? British, Polish, Chinese, Islamic, Kosher ...]
Want every option, want it now, want it cheaper.
Supermarkets are such a massive part of our lives, we (yes you and me) have helped developed these things over the years to what they’ve become – most people having something bad to say about them but we have al helped drive this massive supply and demand. Tutting as we read the Sunday supplements, but happy to snap up the 2 for 1 deals. Guilty of hypocrisy, we are the demand. Supplying or every need to our reaction to instant want all consumerism.
With mobile phone and wireless technology becoming more widespread and our supply and demand getting hungrier where will it lead us? The recession seems to be creating a consumer lead market, blurring the lines with the high street and online is letting the consumer hold court, loyalty schemes are becoming more joined up / fluid. It wont be long before offers change in-front of you because the store knows who it’s selling to or collections prepared before you enter the store because the store knows you are approaching.
Maybe it’s time to rethink how supermarkets are laid out? Can we learn something from a football stadium in terms of the pitch being ‘the market’ – a live show – a buzzing market show-casing what the world of food is all about …? fresh food prepared in front of you while you wait or even a farm with live produce and ‘food’ towers, vertical plantations above the supermarket cultivating key ingredients for that store depending or wanted by the local consumer.
Live cooking demonstrations, holding centre court.
Customers reviewing product live in-store and sharing recipe ideas.
Social communities. Leading supermarket brands are already showing the way of supporting and developing social/low cost housing and contributing to local communities how can they progress this further? With the rise of social media and the mobile phone, supermarkets could become the heart of the community. Providing market areas for local produce and holding tasting sessions to promote local cafes and restaurants etc.