An EU-backed “alternative supermarket” could open within the next two years in the UK with bullish plans to eventually open up to 300 stores nationwide.
The concept is the brainchild of the East Midlands Development Agency, which plans a store selling only regional produce with a focus on seaonality and would not conform to traditional supermarket formats.
Dr Chris Brock, head of sector innovation at EDMA, said that his research over the past year had revealed that the business model could capture 5% to 15% of the total food grocery market. “Some people are now thinking supermarkets are not the most wonderful experience, and a third of those we spoke to said our model was spot on.”
The pilot would occupy a 30,000 sq ft store and sell 70% fresh food, with a focus on seasonality. The next phase is to find private sector backers. One option is a joint venture with a retailer, unlikely to be a supermarket, which would take on EMDA’s business model, including the running of the shops and supply chain. EMDA would fund the start up with an £8m cash injection.