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What Amazon Prime Members Think About New Lower Prices at Whole Foods Market

What Amazon Prime Members Think About New Lower Prices at Whole Foods Market

Learn what some Amazon Prime members think of the new discounts available to them at Whole Foods Market.

Travel Notes from Japan | Market Observations from Grocery Retail

Travel Notes from Japan | Market Observations from Grocery Retail

I was just in Japan for two weeks. I went to conduct some shopper research for a client and while there, had a vacation with my husband and our friends as well. I traveled all over Tokyo, took a bullet train over to Kyoto, drove a car to Mount Fuji and then back to Tokyo. I loved getting to know Japan (and will definitely be back,) had some amazing foodie experiences and learned a lot about Japan’s grocery retail landscape and Japanese shoppers.

Have a look at my photos below to see some of the many observations I made while working and traveling around in Japan.

Firstly, Japan makes a wide variety of specialty foods, some of which looks like good candidates to make it in America. More on that in this separate blog post.

Japanese Specialty Food

Much like the American market, you’ll find a wide variety of retail outlets ranging from convenience stores (Lawson’s or Family Mart are everywhere,) conventional supermarket chains, independent specialty shops, specialty food chains, and high end food halls and shops inside luxury department stores.

life grocery store tokyo Japan
akomeya tokyo japan specialty food
maruetsu grocery store Japan
This was definitely my favorite specialty food store, Akomeya Tokyo TOKYO公式オンラインショップのページです。 akomeya.jp .

This was definitely my favorite specialty food store, Akomeya Tokyo TOKYO公式オンラインショップのページです。akomeya.jp.

lincos grocery store tokyo Japan
lincos japan supermarket
National Azabu Supermarket
Gorgeous specialty food section inside the high end department store, Kyoto BAL,  www.bal-bldg.com/kyoto .

Gorgeous specialty food section inside the high end department store, Kyoto BAL, www.bal-bldg.com/kyoto.

Japanese high end food

In the cities people are making multiple trips per week to the grocery store. Most pop in by foot or on bicycle. Riding bicycles is huge here. You’ll see moms on their bikes carrying around two children – one in the front and one in the back, leaving very little space to tote around a lot of groceries.

grocery stores in Japan

Coffee culture is alive and well here. So glad about that as I’m no fun to be around unless I’m properly caffeinated in the morning.

coffee culture Japan
Found the cutest Aussie cafe, Bondi Cafe, across from Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. Check them out on your next visit to Tokyo:  bondicafe.net/bondi-cafe-yoyogi-beach-park .

Found the cutest Aussie cafe, Bondi Cafe, across from Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. Check them out on your next visit to Tokyo: bondicafe.net/bondi-cafe-yoyogi-beach-park.

Specialty bread is also a big deal here. Definitely ate the most expensive bread I’ve ever had and yes it was worth it! Seriously though, how pretty is this bread store? It looks like a jewelry shop. Not limited to just the specialty, expensive types of bread, regular bread is popular too. On several occasions I saw people wrapped around a city block in line for fresh bread at a bakery. With a specialty product like the one you see below, this is more for a gifting occasion instead of a regular purchase, so I’m told by shoppers.

grand marble kyoto
Apparently everyone leaves here very happy as evidenced by these folks.

Apparently everyone leaves here very happy as evidenced by these folks.

Japanese love their beef. Everyone’s heard of Japan’s famous Wagyu and Kobe beef, both of which are delicious. I did some research on the meat category while there; look for another upcoming blog post soon just about the meat category in Japan.

wagyu beef japan
meat department grocery japan
Japanese BBQ

Japanese shoppers enjoy a wide variety of meat cuts. Go to a butchery or open up a restaurant menu and you’ll see some cuts you may not be familiar with -- like beef tongue. Nice to see people willing to accept those “minority cuts of meat” so the entire carcass is used and nothing goes to waste.

Japanese butcher shop
Beef tongue — looks nice, right?

Beef tongue — looks nice, right?

meat in Japanese supermarket

Presentation is taken very seriously here. In the higher end specialty shops you’ll see beautiful merchandising. Staff inside grocery stores seem to take great pride in their work (that’s a nice change!) and obsess over the details ensuring products look perfect on the shelves. While checking in on some of my clients products there, I was very happy to find them in perfect order.

honey display Japan
cherry blossoms grocery retail Japan
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breakfast traditional Japanese
beef butcher Japan
saki mount fuji yamanashi japan

And if you’re like me, and are attracted to pretty, minimal packaging, you’ll find a lot of products that catch your eye.

Japanese product packaging
Aseed Aster Japanese Beer
kids food products in Japan
People Tree Japan
pork jerky Japan
I took a close look at honey on supermarket shelves around Japan. I’ll have more on that for you in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned here.

I took a close look at honey on supermarket shelves around Japan. I’ll have more on that for you in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned here.

I observed some organic products, but not a lot. Most of the shoppers I conducted shop-alongs with were not having organic or chemical-free top of mind. That said, what was top of mind is food cleanliness, safety and country of origin.

organic Japanese tea
organic milk Japan
Cleavers organic beef Japan
brown sugar 1st organic japan

The USA, France and Australia have done a good job of promoting products from their countries here as the Japanese have an affinity for products coming from these countries.

American beef in Japan
I see Outback Steakhouse has also made it to Japan. Japanese enjoy a taste of the Outback as well.

I see Outback Steakhouse has also made it to Japan. Japanese enjoy a taste of the Outback as well.

true aussie beef Japan

I observed some unique flavors as ingredients in products like soft drinks, chocolates — basically anything had a version that was matcha green tea, wasabi, peach or cherry blossom/sakura flavor.

matcha tea KitKat Japan
I know it’s not organic, but I do enjoy a Coca-Cola every once in a while. Tried one of these and it was super sweet, but delicious. I could not finish it all, but definitely worth trying.

I know it’s not organic, but I do enjoy a Coca-Cola every once in a while. Tried one of these and it was super sweet, but delicious. I could not finish it all, but definitely worth trying.

On the go eating is not common here as it’s considered impolite to eat while walking around or otherwise on the go. If you buy some takeaway food, it’s meant to be eaten near the vendor before going about your business. Despite that, supermarket shelves have a wide variety of interesting snack food.

snack food Japan

Spotted some familiar products from back in the USA on supermarket shelves in Japan.

chuao honeycomb Japan
blue circle foods salmon Japan

Does your brand want to launch into the Japanese market?

While in Japan, we took a deep dive into the grocery retail landscape and shopped-along with Japanese consumers, delivering valuable insights, feedback and recommendations for our client who we conducted research for.

Green Purse PR conducts shopper research all over the world and looks forward to doing more shopper research in Japan. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about the Japanese market and consumers.

Or, are you from a Japanese company that wants to launch into the USA?

Good news — we’ll be back in Tokyo later this year and we’ll be bringing fresh insights from the American consumer market with us. I’m currently planning one of Green Purse PR’s Go To Market USA Workshops. These workshops are for exporters and focus on understanding the American consumer market to ensure export success. Each program is customized, but typically includes a half day or full day workshop covering topics such as: the American retail landscape, shopper insights, best practices in consumer marketing, competitive intelligence, resources and a brainstorming and Q&A session. Click here for more details on the Go To Market USA Workshops and contact us for details on the upcoming program happening later in 2019 in Tokyo.

- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR

Photo Tour of MOM's Organic Market | Gaithersburg, Maryland

Photo Tour of MOM's Organic Market in Gaithersburg

MOM's Organic Market is an independent, family owned, natural foods retailer with currently 19 stores in the Washington, DC area, as well as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The newly opened store I visited is located at 10 Upper Rock Cir, Rockville, Maryland 20850. The address is technically, Rockville, but it's right on the cusp of Gaithersburg.

If you've not been to a MOM's store before, you're in for a visual treat if you scroll through my photos below. I've shopped at other MOM's locations in DC for many years and love it. With an emphasis on organic products, along with their mission to protect and restore the environment, MOM's curates exceptional products and delights shoppers with unique offerings they might not find anywhere else. This is a store you can truly feel good about shopping with.

This new Gaithersburg store has lots of wide open spaces, given that it's in the suburbs. It's the nicest MOM's store I've seen yet! One thing I immediately noticed was the focus on bees throughout the store. I love all things honey, bees, bees wax, and of course saving the bees, plus I've been doing a lot of shopper research on the honey category recently. See for yourself in my photos here.

moms_organic_market
moms organic market
vegetable_wall_organic
As I've been doing a lot of shopper research in the honey category lately, of course I checked out the honey aisle.

As I've been doing a lot of shopper research in the honey category lately, of course I checked out the honey aisle.

This store has a wide selection of honey.

This store has a wide selection of honey.

Including 6 skus of Manuka honey from New Zealand

Including 6 skus of Manuka honey from New Zealand

I'm noticing a theme throughout the store -- very bee-friendly. This plastic wrap alternative, Bee Wrap, made from bees wax, is nice.

I'm noticing a theme throughout the store -- very bee-friendly. This plastic wrap alternative, Bee Wrap, made from bees wax, is nice.

More bee-friendly products

More bee-friendly products

Portland Bee Balm

Portland Bee Balm

Burt's Bees (from my home state of North Carolina.)

Burt's Bees (from my home state of North Carolina.)

Excited to see the Global Animal Partnership label here, on Bilinski's chicken sausage. That's the label I look for to buy higher welfare meats.

Excited to see the Global Animal Partnership label here, on Bilinski's chicken sausage. That's the label I look for to buy higher welfare meats.

La Quercia also touting the GAP label.

La Quercia also touting the GAP label.

An outstanding body care section! So many different brands and products from what I usually see in other retailers.

An outstanding body care section! So many different brands and products from what I usually see in other retailers.

Tons of essential oils.

Tons of essential oils.

Spotted the Jack N' Jill brand from Australia; this is the kind my kids use.

Spotted the Jack N' Jill brand from Australia; this is the kind my kids use.

earth_friendly_tooth_brush
I bought some of these sticks and the stick holder for my backyard. Seems to be working well!

I bought some of these sticks and the stick holder for my backyard. Seems to be working well!

Found some wool dryer balls, also from New Zealand. Love the branding; I bought these too - love to support the New Zealand companies.

Found some wool dryer balls, also from New Zealand. Love the branding; I bought these too - love to support the New Zealand companies.

I've not seen beekeeper supplies in a grocery store before; very cool.

I've not seen beekeeper supplies in a grocery store before; very cool.

A look inside my shopping basket.

A look inside my shopping basket.

I'm not kidding about the emphasis on bees. Super cute grocery bag!

I'm not kidding about the emphasis on bees. Super cute grocery bag!

Stayed tuned here on our blog, #GetInHerCart, for more grocery store visits from our travels around the world as we speak at various conferences and conduct shopper research in different markets. 

If you're keen to learn more about the grocery retail landscape in America, consider working with us on a workshop. Our workshop, Making it in America: How to Enter & Succeed in the Diverse Food Retail Marketplace, is one of the sessions we teach most and is very popular amongst companies from outside the USA. Contact me, Lisa Mabe, for more details about our workshops and other retail related services we offer. We teach workshops, conduct research and plan or execute public relations programs for companies all over the world. I look forward to hearing from you. Contact us here.  

- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR

Photo Tour of Thanopoulos (Θανόπουλος) - Athens, Greece

Supermarket Tour | Thanopoulos (Θανόπουλος in Greek) in Athens, Greece

While in Greece recently on holidays, I took some time to squeeze in a bit of work. I've been to Greece several times before, (my husband is from Greece) but this was my first time doing a proper supermarket tour of Athens and conducting shopper research there. 

Athens has some lovely supermarkets and one of my favorites is Thanopoulos, known for stocking a wide variety of products from all over the world and the place to 'see and be seen' apparently. For those not already familiar with Thanopoulos, it is a privately-held family business that has been around since 1877.  Thanopoulos currently has three locations in Athens. I visited the Thanopoulos supermarket in the neighborhood of Kifissia (Κηφισιά,) an upscale residential and shopping district, and quite possibly my favorite place in Athens, other than the coast (Vouliagmeni is still my most favorite spot.) Have a look inside one of Athen's best supermarkets, Thanaopoulos, located at: N. Kifissia Ελαιών 38 14564 Athens, GR-A1.

Entrance to Thanopoulos N. Kifissia store

Entrance to Thanopoulos N. Kifissia store

View from the large, roof top patio offering views of nearby mountains.

View from the large, roof top patio offering views of nearby mountains.

From the roof top patio. There is a cafe just inside.

From the roof top patio. There is a cafe just inside.

View from the second level, looking down on the cash registers.

View from the second level, looking down on the cash registers.

Organic fruit & vegetables

Organic fruit & vegetables

Fancy Greek olive oils, something Greece is certainly very well known for in the USA.

Fancy Greek olive oils, something Greece is certainly very well known for in the USA.

Minced/ground beef. Lamb and pork, however, seem to be the meats of choice in Greece.

Minced/ground beef. Lamb and pork, however, seem to be the meats of choice in Greece.

The meat aisle

The meat aisle

Organic poultry with the EU Organic Farming certification. Other than that label, nothing real signifiant in terms of claims & product attributes.

Organic poultry with the EU Organic Farming certification. Other than that label, nothing real signifiant in terms of claims & product attributes.

Notice some familiar American brands on the snack ailse.

Notice some familiar American brands on the snack ailse.

Tons of fancy Greek honey.

Tons of fancy Greek honey.

Love this pretty honey packaging.

Love this pretty honey packaging.

Natural laundry products

Natural laundry products

The Greeks take their sea salt very seriously. I buy some of these same brands at my local Greek specialty food shop in Washington, DC.

The Greeks take their sea salt very seriously. I buy some of these same brands at my local Greek specialty food shop in Washington, DC.

My first time seeing donkey milk.

My first time seeing donkey milk.

Organic Greek chocolate

Organic Greek chocolate

Dining space & cafe

Dining space & cafe

A special perk for parents - a play space with an attendant to watch your children while you grocery shop. This mom loves seeing special accomodations for moms, parents and children.

A special perk for parents - a play space with an attendant to watch your children while you grocery shop. This mom loves seeing special accomodations for moms, parents and children.

One more shot from the roof top patio. It was so pretty, I came up here for coffee and a meeting.

One more shot from the roof top patio. It was so pretty, I came up here for coffee and a meeting.

If I lived in Athens, I would definitely shop here. It's a modern beautiful, store with lovely amenities and a huge variety of international products on offer. It's no wonder that Athenians are willing to drive out of their way (in some cases,) just to shop at one of the three Thanopoulos locations. 

Stayed tuned here on our blog, #GetInHerCart, for more grocery store visits from our travels around the world as we speak at various conferences and conduct shopper research in different markets. 

lisa_mabe_konstantopoulos

- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR

Behind the Scenes of our Grocery Shopping Photo Shoot

Behind the Scenes of our Grocery Shopping Photo Shoot

Have a look behind-the-scenes of our recent Green Purse PR photo shoot showing a millennial aged grocery shopper throughout her shopping journey.

Good to be back in Sydney, Australia

Green Purse PR's Lisa Mabe Back in Sydney

It was so nice to be back in Sydney during June to speak at conferences and meet with some of Green Purse PR's clients. Being previously based in Sydney, many of our clients are in Australia and it's a place I absolutely love. 

Below are some photos showing a visual recap of my recent business trip. Highlights of the trip included speaking about marketing to millennial consumers at the Naturally Good Business Summit, and Naturally Good Expo / Fantastic Food + Drink Show. More on those trade shows + links to my presentations here.

While there, I toured some of the local grocery stores, and visited some of my old stomping ground. Have a look at some of the grocery stores we visited here:

The Australian market continues to be a major focus for myself and Green Purse PR. Australia has a lot to offer the world in terms of natural and organic products. I'm keen to help those companies be successful in markets like the USA, Middle East and Asia. Learn more about our expertise and capabilities here and contact me if you're keen to learn more. 

- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR

Curious to know what women in the USA think about products from Australia?

Watch this video I produced, featuring our shop-along research, for the Naturally Good Expo.

Photo Tour | Whole Foods Market in Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo Tour | Whole Foods Market in Las Vegas, Nevada

Here's a photo tour through the Whole Foods Market store in Las Vegas, Nevada located right off the Las Vegas Boulevard. 

Will Grocers Like Whole Foods Market Reinvent the 'Meal Kit?'

Will Grocers Like Whole Foods Market Reinvent the 'Meal Kit?'

Grocery retailers are starting to experiment with the 'meal kit' concept. Here's a new display we spotted at Whole Foods Market.

Photo Tour | Woolworths in Crows Nest, Sydney

I recently returned from a business trip to Sydney, Australia, where I used to be based. I was in town to speak at the Naturally Good Expo and Naturally Good Business Summit. While there I had a look at some of Sydney's grocery retail scene, including some of the stores I used to shop at when I lived in Sydney.

One of the stores I visited was Woolworths in Crows Nest. This 'Woolies' store just reopened in April 2016 after two years of major renovation. I shopped at this Woolies during my time in Sydney; last time I was here it was still being demolished. Now, $52 million later in redevelopment, it's a completely different store. Previously it was a very tired, soulless, one-level store -- the kind that's so unpleasant, you can hardly wait to get out of it. Now it's shiny, new and includes multiple-levels. 

Below are some photos I took of Woolworths located at 10 Falcon St, Crows Nest NSW 2065, Australia.

Woolworths - Crows Nest, Sydney

Woolworths - Crows Nest, Sydney

Such a beautiful structure on the outside. Crows Nest is an adorable community, but it could use some updating. The new Woolworths helps modernise the community. 

woolies_australia

Main level includes lots of grab & go options.

woolworths_sydney
woolies_crows_nest
woolworths_meat_department
meat_department_woolworths

Spotted several products featuring the Australian Certified Organic bud, Australia's most recognised organic certification amongst Australian consumers.

cleavers_lamb
woolworths_crows_nest

This Thomas Dux corner on the first floor made me sad. I'm glad Woolworths still managed to let the brand live on in some form, but I'm disappointed that the stand alone stores no longer exist. Thomas Dux Grocer closed about two years ago. There used to be an outstanding Thomas Dux right around the corner from here; it's now a different store, called About Life. Read my blog post, photo tour of About Life here.

thomas_dux_grocer
organic_food_woolworths
woolies_sydney

Stayed tuned here on our blog, #GetInHerCart, for more information on grocery retail and from our travels around the world as we speak at various conferences and conduct shopper research in different markets. 

Photo Tour | About Life in Crows Nest, Sydney

I recently returned from a few weeks working in Australia. During my time in Sydney (my old home) I visited several grocery retailers, including some of my old go-to spots from when I lived in Sydney. 

For me, I study (through shop-along research) how health-conscious consumers around the world grocery shop, so I'm always keen to have a look at the in-store environment, identify new products and try to understand what's resonating with shoppers. 

One of the stores I visited is About Life in Crows Nest, on Sydney's Lower North Shore. About Life is a natural supermarket and whole foods cafe with seven locations in Sydney and one in Melbourne (as of this writing.) This store was converted from a Thomas Dux Grocer store (sadly, no longer with us) to About Life about two years ago. About Life, Crows Nest is located at: 13 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest NSW 2065, Australia. When I lived in Sydney, and this was still Thomas Dux Grocer, this store was where we bought most of our groceries. 

The layout of the store is mostly the same as it was under Thomas Dux.  It now features a cafe section and has been re-skinned for the About Life brand. This is a great store to discover unique and healthy products, from fresh food and packaged snacks to natural nappies and body care.

Below are photos I took while visiting About Life located at 13 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest NSW 2065, Australia.

about-life-sydney
about-life-farmers
about-life-merchandising
food-product-packaging-leaf-kubu
kubu-yohurt-australia
health-snacking-food-trend
the-happy-snack-company-chic-peas
arlingtons-tapioca-pudding

 

Stayed tuned here on our blog, #GetInHerCart, for more information on grocery retail and from our travels around the world as we speak at various conferences and conduct shopper research in different markets. 

PHOTO TOUR | JAMES ST MARKET, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

PHOTO TOUR | JAMES ST MARKET, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

Have a look inside the new James St Market in the Fortitude Valley neighborhood of Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia.