Background
15 April 2015 Trends

Consumers about three
new food concepts

In this article, we’ll visit three new food concepts: the Amsterdam Food Halls, the Rotterdam Market Hall and the Marqt supermarket chain. What do these concepts embrace? And more importantly: what is the opinion of customers and entrepreneurs?

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The Food Halls in Amsterdam

At the end of October 2014, Amsterdam got its own Food Hall, inspired by popular food markets such as Borough Market in London and Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, which annually attract around 4 million visitors. The attractively-renovated old tramway depot in Amsterdam Oud-West is the ideal spot for local residents and tourists to enjoy the big city life with a variety of snacks and drinks.

The Amsterdam Food Halls offer 16,000 mof space for all kinds of activities. The Food Halls themselves house 20 to 25 restaurants & catering businesses. The stall holders are new restaurant & catering businesses, but there are also branches of already existing companies. In addition, there is a cinema, a hotel, two restaurants, a library and a variety of shops.

Entrepreneurs about the Amsterdam Food Halls

Michiel Maessen works in the Caulils cheese stall and tells enthusiastically: ‘We have a delicatessen elsewhere in Amsterdam and we pitched for the cheese stall in the Food Halls. We developed our own toasted sandwich for this purpose. Our Caulils toasted sandwich is an enormous success! We were the “Sandwich of the Week” in the Parool (big Dutch newspaper) and also other media wrote about us.

For the first months, the Food Halls were a real hype. It was almost too busy. It’s a bit better now. During the day, we see many families with children, but also older people who come here for a bit of fun. In the evening, we often see the younger people who come for a drink and a bite to eat. The people living in the neighbourhood also come here regularly. There’s a fantastic atmosphere. For us, the stall is also a useful leg up to the shop. It’s also inspiring because the environment makes you think about other possibilities for your own product. Maybe, we could grow into a small chain and do a bit more with mobile concepts.

“I’m responsible for my own 15 m2 and my own product and can fully focus on that”

A little bit further on is Dominique Spijker of Jabugo, who is very busy with his Iberico ham. He tells us: ‘I had a dream of becoming an entrepreneur and when I heard about this concept, I believed in it straightaway. It’s a wonderful start for me. The concept was already there, the marketing is good and I don’t have to invest in facilities or staff. It eliminates risks. I’m responsible for my own 15 m2 and my own product and can fully focus on that. I wouldn’t mind a few more shops, but then only within these types of concepts.’

One of the initiators of the Food Halls about his source of inspiration
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The four initiators of these Food Halls all have a restaurant & catering background. One of them is Chong Chu, he explains: ‘The South-European market halls are our inspiration. We thought that such a concept should make it here as well. But would it be successful? The North-European gastronomic culture is quite different. When we made a study of these halls we discovered that concepts like these had also been successfully started in Stockholm and Copenhagen. So, why not in Amsterdam?’

Want to test the atmosphere?
Watch this film

Rotterdam Market Hall

With its 176 nationalities and kitchens, Rotterdam may have the most varying gastronomic cultures of the Netherlands. At the beginning of October 2014, after 5 years of construction, the Market Hall opened its doors. The covered fresh market offers space to 96 stalls and 20 shops and restaurants. Here, good food and an outstanding living environment are coming together under a spectacular arch, which is nicknamed the Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam.

The Rotterdam Market Hall lives up to its reputation. There is a butcher, baker, greengrocer, cheese shop, nut shop, ice-cream parlour and much more. There is a broad mix of specialist shops, restaurants and branches of well-known chains. There isn’t a dish for which you can’t find the ingredients. Where the Amsterdam Food Halls focus more on restaurants, in Rotterdam the emphasis is more on retail.

“It’s really something special for me. It just makes me happy”

Customers about the Rotterdam Market Hall

‘For me shopping in the Market Hall is really something special. It just makes me happy. The atmosphere is enjoyable, the stall holders are friendly and the building is just fantastic! It’s quite a journey to get here, so I don't always do my shopping here. But I love the variety of products and the special atmosphere.’

‘I work in Rotterdam and often lunch in the Market Hall. You can also do flexiwork upstairs, so I often arrange to meet with colleagues here. But I don’t do my shopping here. That’s not practical because I don’t live here.’

'I come here for things I can't get in the supermarket. The variety here is enormous. The prices are a bit higher though. But everyone has to decide for themselves what to buy or not.'

‘We love it here. We found everything we were looking for. That won't happen in a supermarket. In the mean time, we’re enjoying a glass of wine and delicious snacks. That really feels like a luxury.’

Marqt Supermarket

The Marqt supermarket is a young and successful supermarket format which presents itself as a sustainable supermarket chain. Marqt focuses on healthy, fresh and delicious food and a close bond between the customer and the producer. The ‘Real Food’ concept has been well developed and the Marqt principles can be found everywhere in the shop, from lay-out, labelling to displays.

Marqt works together with a small group of producers. The chain is regionally-oriented as much as is possible. Marqt now has 13 shops, mostly in the bigger cities, and wants to spread to provincial towns where, according to Marqt, there’s a turnaround in thinking about food as well.

“I’m very much aware of what I buy. I go for fresh and avoid chemicals. I prefer locally-produced and organically-grown products.”

Customers about Marqt

‘I've been shopping in Marqt right from the start. I believe in fair trade and that producers should get their fair share. I also purposely buy organically-produced food.’

‘I love healthy food and miss certain products in a standard supermarket. They have delicious and healthy products here. They are a bit more expensive though. It’s always fun to discover new things. I usually buy more than what’s on my shopping list.’

Johanna Dadaczynski regularly shops in Marqt, she tells us why: 'I do most of my shopping here. Some food I buy fresh on the market, but I don’t shop in other supermarkets. I’m very much aware of what I buy. I go for fresh and avoid chemicals. I prefer locally-produced and organically-grown products. I love cooking and they have different products than other places, lemonades and special beer from the region, for example.