A New Type of Food Concept: The Food Collective

Saying that a food collective concept is a ‘new’ one might be technically incorrect but in the last year or so, their popularity has spiked. A food collective is a concept that contains more than one type of food option in the one outlet. You could consider it as a small-scale fresh food market or food hall where you can get a curated selection of food items like fresh made paninis, hand-tossed salads, daily desserts and local bakery goods all in one confined space. 

Melbourne's HWKR (scroll down for more information)  image via In Design Live

Melbourne's HWKR (scroll down for more information) image via In Design Live

Walking around Europe, it is easy to see how these concepts have gained traction. Walk into Le Bon Marche’s, La Grande Epicerie de Paris and you are instantly immersed in a food experience from bakers offering you fresh baguettes to sushi chefs finely slicing enticing sashimi, you will struggle to walk out of the place without handing over your money in exchange for some tasty delights. The energy and atmosphere these spaces stimulate is part of their success as different counters dish up different foods all in a bid to win the customers eye and tastebuds over. And thanks to it’s diverse offer, customers know that they can head there to satisfy any craving making it a first choice for many. The same goes for many department stores across Europe and Asia whose bottom floor is dedicated to food. These thriving food hubs are a good example of how many cuisines can sit under the roof of one shop and run as a micro-food precinct, everyone’s one-stop-food-shop for a diverse, delicious and exciting dining (or retail food shopping!) experience. 

Today’s customer is open to options. They aren’t confined to the idea of ‘meat and three veg’ but looking for something that expands on what they already know about food. They want comfort combined with curiosity and they want to be able to get it in the most convenient and seamless way. If a customer has the choice of two dining destinations nearby work, one with their favourite sandwich but a little further away and the other with sandwiches that have been deemed ‘okay’ but just next door to work, chances are that more often than not they will visit the closer, more convenient option. Same goes for food options, a customer is more likely to entertain the idea of food collective where there is a high chance they will find something they like to eat even if they don’t really know what they feel like. This is what makes the food collective so suitable for today’s fast paced, convenience-drive, experience seeking customer. 

Noodle soup at Picnic, Singpore (scroll down for more information)  image via Daniel Food Diary

Noodle soup at Picnic, Singpore (scroll down for more information) image via Daniel Food Diary

Food collectives are popping up all over the globe. From our local shores to Asia and America, these types of concepts are standing out from the crowd and giving customers an array of options all under the one roof. We at Future Food are excited by this as having multiple outlets running under the one roof creates atmosphere and experience, they are a viable business option for smaller businesses who can work in collaboration and they promote customer spend by giving customers more than one option. It also teaches retail developments that there does not need to be a large amount of space to install an exciting food precinct and in fact, with a small space a centre- and customer-specific food collective can be masterplanned with five or so carefully selected counters under the one overarching brand which will service the people, generate business success for the operators and achieve gains for the development itself. 

We have listed four food collectives from around the world that are creating a micro-hub of food heaven by delivering what the customer wants all under the one roof: 

Merchants of Ultimo, Sydney

"a European food collective with five market stalls under one roof. Enjoy everything from the best coffees, the freshest farm to table dishes and even handmade desserts by in house pastry chefs"


Playa Provisions, California

"The unique model includes four different restaurant concepts nestled within one 7,000-square foot, beach side location, including a bright ice cream shop (with all ice creams made in-house) called Small Batch; a casual market counter serving breakfast and lunch, called King Beach; a back-room whisky bar called Grain; and a more high-end dining space dedicated to seasonal seafood fare, called Dockside"

HWKR, Melbourne

"HWKR is inspired by the hawker food centres in Singapore and Malaysia, with a vision to be a contemporary space where people can socialise, and experience a rotating offer of South East Asian food right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD"

Picnic, Singpore

" With 10 different stalls under one roof offering a range of cuisines from Japanese Butadon, Taiwanese beef noodles, Korean-Mexican tacos, Swiss Rosti, French poulet, Italian pastas, pizzas, and American-style smash burgers by Omakase Burger, making a choice will be the most difficult part of the visit"

Which food collectives do you love in your town? 


Credits - cover image of KOI Dessert Bar at HWKR Melbourne image via Eat Drink Play