Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Fresh and Easy" grocery stores have a plan to help

Tesco, a british grocery store chain, has recently traveled to the United States to begin opening grocery stores in needed areas such as food desert areas.

The company plans to achieve an optimistic goal of opening 100 "Fresh and Easy" grocery stores in the United States in the next five years and plans to spend $400 million a year to achieve that goal.

The best part about Tesco is that they recognize and are very supportive of food deserts and plan to open many of their stores in inner-city neighborhoods having the poorest access to food markets. They have concentrated on California, Arizona and Nevada but plan to expand to other cities in the future including Washington and Oregon.

Tesco has put together a blog, http://freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com, as well as allowing consumers to follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FreshNEasyBuzz. 

In an article in this blog titled "A long haul just to get their daily bread", writer Jennifer Langston writes about some of the areas that are heavily concentrated with food deserts naming Seattle as one of them. She brings up some good points as to how we may be able to incorporate solutions in our own city. For example, she writes about Mayor Bloomberg's Green Cart initiative in New York City. This initiative gives permits to about 1,000 fruit and vegetable cart vendors to set up their carts in underserved neighborhoods of the five boroughs. This allows closer and easier access to healthy fruits and vegetables within walking distance to many low income areas of New York City.

Tesco's "Fresh and Easy" strategy focuses on small-format grocery stores in underserved areas. They  combine basic grocery items utilizing their private label but, due to customer demand, have recently adding many national brands to compliment their own label. Having the majority of food items with their own private brand is one of the reasons their prices are lower.


~Leslie Kobyluck

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