We like to keep abreast of new retail concepts around the world here at Sherlock. One of the most exciting we recently came across is a self-service herb garden which opened in Albert Heijn’s XL store in Purmerend in The Netherlands in November 2016.
From a retailing point of view, it’s exciting because it gives customers access to fresher food – in fact, it’s the first in-store farming unit in the Netherlands.
Allowing customers to harvest their own food also gives them more choice and control over what they eat. As a spokesman for Albert Heijn says: “Freshness adds to any food experience and you can’t get any fresher than this!”
Customers can choose from 13 different varieties of herbs, harvesting only the quantity they want (using scissors provided) – which, Albert Heijn says has environmental benefits. “Customers will only take as much as they need so this will eliminate unnecessary food wastage,” the spokesman adds.
And as the price of each type of herb is the same, customers can mix and match. This is particularly useful for a consumer following a recipe which calls for a specific blend of herbs, such as a bouquet garni.
After arriving in-store, the herbs are finished off under LED lights, so the herb garden comprises a “one more week” section and a “ready to cut” section.
The herb garden concept is just one of a number of environmentally-friendly measures that Albert Heijn has implemented in its newly refurbished Purmerend store. All in all, the concept gives Albert Heijn an innovative edge over their competitors when it comes to the in-store experience.