Next time you run to the grocery store for bread and milk, you might find yourself staying for a champagne tasting. Or seduced by Comice Pears. Or perhaps you’ll just stay home and cook the elicoidali pasta and mascarpone cheese from your Blue Apron box.
It’s hard being an old-fashioned grocery store these days. Adults, for the first time since such data was recorded, are spending more money eating out than cooking in. But even when they do buy their food, the market is enduring what analysts coldly call “grocery channel fragmentation.”
Pam Danziger, a luxury goods expert, said simply that young eaters are on the hunt for something “distinctive and different.”
Small, boutique food shops that are part-restaurant, part-brew pub, part-exotic grocer are all the rage.
“I find more and more that millennials are looking for special experiences,” said Danziger, author of the book Shops That Pop. “They are not just looking for products. They want a better quality service experience from people who really know their stuff.”
They don’t just want a good pear. They want to know why that pear goes great with that salad. And they might even want to know who grew that pear.
“There’s nothing like going to specialty wine store where workers can really advise you on what you are getting,” she said. “This has happened with food now.”
It’s not just happening in hip urban areas on the coasts. Danziger points to small independent food retailers, like Dorothy Lane Market, in Dayton, Ohio, (with its Comice “Holiday Pear”) as examples of a national trend that seems to have staying power. [Continue reading]