SEATTLE (FNS) -- Kroger's decision to test a new fresh-foods format at its QFC division marks the latest foray by a major retailer into territory once deemed undesirable.
The 47,000-square-foot unit, dubbed Fresh Fare, is scheduled to help anchor a proposed mixed-use, industrial redevelopment site that also includes a five-star hotel.
The upmarket store reportedly will punctuate its fresh focus with exhibition cooking and a variety of action stations, including freshly tossed salads and made-to-order sandwiches, as well as in-store-produced sushi selections, freshly grilled meats and hot-from-the-wok, stir-fried Asian specialties. Specialty cheeses, along with a high-end selection of wines, will also be offered.
The emphasis on freshness to boost consumer traffic and sales, particularly in urban areas, is an ongoing national trend, as operators seek out new territory and new profits, observers said.
"Armed with a new understanding of the potential fresh foods bring to heighten sales, profit and traffic, supermarket executives are shifting from focusing on grocery to focusing on food service, along with consumer best practices, to sell prepared meals and other fresh foods," said Stephan Kouzomis, president of Meal Market Solutions Group, Louisville, Ky.