During our recent travels to Amsterdam, we had a chance to visit a unique retail concept called Bilder & DeClerq.
Each day, the store offers 14 recipes, complete with all of the ingredients that one would need to prepare that recipe. And by all, we mean that each ingredient is available, portion controlled, so there is no waste. Preparation time for most dishes is around 30 minutes, and the company makes a point of actively searching our local and sustainable ingredients.
In addition to the recipe stations, the remainder of the store features a small café, cooking demonstration area and curated specialty foods products that can help complete a meal.
There are currently two of these locations in Amsterdam and they just recently added a “recipe wall” at the new Google headquarters in Amsterdam, where employees can scan a recipe and have the package delivered to their office.
While it’s always fascinating to visit concepts abroad, it is not always clear how easily they might translate to the U.S. market. Bilder & DeClerq still leaves the extra step of making it at home and perhaps the inconvenience of a separate stop outweighs the benefit of being a specialist.
In any case, it is an eye opener and idea generator. Back home in the U.S., others are working on variations here as well. Fast-growing web start-ups like Plated and Blue Apron offer essentially the same proposition as a Bilder & DeClerq with the ingredients shipped directly to your home.
What these ideas have in common is the idea that convenience and solutions can be taken a step further than most supermarkets have done today. Publix does this today with their long-running Aprons program, which offers customers both added convenience and meal inspiration.
Maybe there will be a new wave of competition in the future going after the “meal solutions.” Or, maybe it outlines an opportunity to rethink how supermarkets present these solutions to their customers.
Are meal stores the wave of the future or a new business opportunity?