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Supermarket rice & noodle aisles need a revamp. The Grocer tasked retail strategy consultancy M Worldwide with cooking up an innovative, and engaging, in-store solution to draw in shoppers.

“Rice and noodles are not being activated as effectively as they could be,” says M Worldwide joint MD David Martin. “They are inert and seen by some as commodity products. You have to do a lot to them to turn them into something interesting.”

He believes a branded in-store pop-up, taking inspiration from a juice bar, could hold the key. For example, a juice bar takes a a commodity product, such as fruit & vegetables, and turns it into something much more interesting.

“A brand could include their entire product range and feature food to go, food for now, hot food preparation, demonstrations and provenance stories,” he says. “It’s all about instant consumption, turning products into something really positive and interesting and very easy to do, but it’s done in front of you – it’s got theatre and engagement. The juice bar equivalent for rice and noodles is what’s required.”

The concept mixes convenience with theatre thanks to a combination of fresh prepared dishes to go, a chef whipping up dishes in front of consumers’ eyes as well as dried rice and noodles to cook at home.

What’s more, it offers shoppers the chance to be more adventurous in their own kitchens with seasonal recipe inspiration alongside DIY meal kits, featuring fresh herbs, sauces and veg.

For added authenticity, something consumers are looking for from rice & noodles, shoppers can pick up traditional bowls, chopsticks and condiments. All these touches elevate humble rice & noodles to something a bit more special.