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Pop-Up Markets Take on Food

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Pop-up shops are slowly becoming ubiquitous in the fashion and technology industries, which are often dependent on seasonal sales. Now, a few retailers are taking a cue to attract attention to the ultimate seasonal product: food.

From Michael Sinatra's Twitter FeedLast weekend, the three-day Super(duper) Market, organized by Paper magazine and sponsored by Target and American Express, assembled nearly three dozen local food producers. From sodas from Brooklyn Soda Works to mayo from Empire Mayonnaise Co, the artisans offered samples so customers could taste the difference. Also, the pop-up, which billed itself as the world’s first pop-up grocery store, found raw space in the Chelsea Market, which is known for its handcrafted foods. The location met one of the common characteristics of pop-ups: utilizing underused or raw spaces.

Out on Long Island, Whole Foods Market opened its FARM Stand in the Hamptons, which is a summer vacation destination for some New Yorkers. The stand takes a similar approach to the Super(duper) Market by sourcing locally made (or caught) produce and seafood, but its offerings are supplemented with familiar store brands. The stand, which will close on Labor Day, was set up in a former car dealership, again revitalizing underused space.

The FARM stand and the Super(duper) Market seem to mark a shift in the way consumers perceive the pop-up shop. No longer do fashion and retail dominate the category. Seasonal food shops are growing in popularity as consumers seem to be driven by the “limited-time only” promotions, the promise of exclusivity, and convenience of having the favorite brands in one location.

As the seasons change, it will be interesting to see if any fall- or winter-focused pop-ups, well, pop up.

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