Talking about the bakery world of retail this week someone used the term “a post-supermarket world”.
It was the first time anyone had ever mentioned this phrase to me and it got me thinking.
The person who coined the term was Trevor Herbert, father of the Fabulous Baker Brothers and managing director of Hobbs House Bakery, so I’m afraid I can’t take the credit.
But he got me thinking about what this “post-supermarket world” would look like. I don’t think Trevor was suggesting that the supermarkets are about to disappear in some kind of apocalyptic event – nor was he advocating a return to the 70’s.
But what exactly is the “post-supermarket world”?
In my head, the supermarkets still exist, of course. But they are radically different beasts to what we have now.
Indeed, in some places the changes are already emerging, helped in part by the arrival of Whole Foods Market. Its policy of stocking smaller, local suppliers, highlighting their chain was a revelation and it seems many have taken stock of this.
On a recent visit, with a group of Dutch bakers in a trip organised by Zeelandia to the Whole Foods Market in Kensington, I was pleased at the amount of bakers they were using from London. You can see how Tesco has tried to ape this with its link-up with Euphorium.
So is this what a “post-supermarket world” looks like? Partly, as Tesco’s most recent results have proved – the big box shops are pretty soul-destroying places. There will always be a need for them, but we should, however, expect them to change, to morph into markets – and using more local craft bakeries to supplement their offer. Whether this is a good thing is still open to judgement.