Capturing the Growth in the Fresh Food Marketplace

So far, 2018 has been the year of the fresh food market for Future Food. With a number of projects in the pipeline as well as a number recently completed including the Adelaide Central Market and Box Hill Central, we are seeing strong growth in this hospitality sector. The growth is sparking interest in market management and developers around the globe to reposition and reinvigorate existing markets to ride this growth or include market concepts in the masterplans of future developments. 

A number of drivers have pushed fresh food market growth along to today where this hospitality sector stands as a thriving, popular concept loved and used by many. In Australia, there are over 170 markets around the country with some attracting up to 6000 people per day and America has seen over 2000 markets open across the nation since mid-1990’s. According to Miranda Sharpe, CEO of Melbourne-based market consultancy - Community Food Marketplace Ltd, the key drivers for the growth in fresh food market popularity have been both higher profit margins for producers as well as economic activity stimulation for the council in the past but today, the growth is largely being driven by the consumer who wants to know where their food comes from. 

Provenance is an ever growing issue for consumers who are valuing transparency in their food purchasing and willing to spend money on what they know is good quality. Whilst there has always been a group of people honouring provenance, it is now becoming more mainstream to shy away from big agriculture and to become an active participant in the local community’s food produce cycle. The fresh food marketplace also provides a space for community engagement, human interaction and harvests a sense of belonging for both the producers and the consumers that use it making it a valuable experience for every person involved. 

With more people engaging with their local fresh food markets, how do markets position themselves to capture this growing consumer group and be a space that offers more than just fresh food to maximise business growth? When working with our fresh food market clients, we focus on five key aspects which promote sustainability of any individual fresh food market model. They include: 1. A balanced mix of the stalls (eg. fruit and vegetable, delis, butchers, food concepts), 2. Season-based programming of events and activities that engage the community, 3. Gold standard market design, visual presentation and maintenance, 4. Consistent and reliable market management, and 5. Ongoing market performance analysis. 

The famous La Boqueria in Barcelona  image via Travel and Leisure

The famous La Boqueria in Barcelona image via Travel and Leisure

Fresh food markets are exposed to the risk of having too little stalls to bring in enough customers, having too much produce which results in fresh food waste and business decline, experiencing seasonal down time and losing consumer appeal due to poor management and presentation however, by focussing on the five key aspects above these risks can be minimised.

Ensuring the mix of stalls is aligned to the customer is an integral part of boosting market appeal. People want to come to the market to shop for all their needs as well as some of their wants and maybe even enjoy a meal while they are there. Our recent work at Adelaide Central Market included creating a curated blend of fresh food, produce, food service and home dining offers to boost the diversity of the market offer and capture a variety of customers, not just those looking for their fruit and vegetables. A programme of events and activities promotes the market to the broader community and creates interest, particularly during off-peak periods. Markets can embrace food trucks, cooking schools, food testing stations and even music events to bring in customers and promote spend during times that spend on market produce might be lower. Design, visual merchandising and maintenance ensure a positive visit for the customer and with positive emotional memories comes the desire to return again and again. Abundant stalls of multi-coloured tomatoes and butcher’s dressed in white butcher coats all add to the overall experience for the customer and differentiate the market from other food retailers. And lastly, ensuring the market is managed by an overarching body and reviewed effectively ensures consistent growth for all stakeholders. 

Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne  image via Broadsheet

Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne image via Broadsheet

Fresh food market popularity will continue to grow as more people continue to look to shop local, act local and be local. The sector is well-positioned to embrace the changing market who want to know where their produce comes, eat the freshest food they can and be surrounded by the life and community in which they live in. By paying close attention to what it is the customer wants as well as ensure the market delivers the best experience possible on a visual and programmatic level, a fresh food market will thrive in the years to come. 

Own, operate or looking to reposition a fresh food market? Contact our expert consultants today to see how Future Food can work with you.

The improvement is incredible, and the learning our team have been able to gain from [Future Food has been] invaluable
— Ben Watson, Centre Manager of Box Hill Central, Vicinity Centres