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August 20, 2005

The dormant demand for jam sugar... and leadership

Pei has just made a batch of homemade jam - giving the surplus away to friends. Damn civilised, don't you think? Justin King says Sainsbury's is focusing on food, but it was discounter Asda that stocked the vital ingredient. Sainsbury's came up short.

The wider question goes to the slow death of traditional cooking skills - like making one's own jam. Is this what we want? I don't always make everything from scratch, but I like to, as does everyone I know. We wish to do more cooking than we do. We feel a pull towards the slow food way of doing things, but the lure of convenience is always there. Perhaps by appealing to our better selves - you want to cook; here, let us show you how - Sainsbury's could really awaken this dormant demand. When I say Sainsbury's could take a lead in UK food culture, this is what I mean.

For example, why not host cookery classes in its stores? Of course, the store offers recipe cards, but they are dumped on a rack at the end of the aisle in a "take it or leave it" fashion. Is that food-focus? A real live person doing small lessons throughout the day on something seasonal - like making jam - would be much more of an attention grabber, and much more likely to rouse the dormant cook in all of us.

No, making jam is not as convenient or as cheap as buying a jar, but here's the thing: Tesco and Asda pretty much own convenient and cheap, so why don't Sainsbury's work on building a whole new market?

Posted by Adrian Trenholm on August 20, 2005 at 11:34 AM in Food | Permalink


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Probably your best post to date!

So running with the theme - how about a butcher who is both passionate and knowledgable about the meat, a cheese specialist, a real baker etc? How about Sainsbury's actually do something useful with Jamie, like get him to write some recipes especially for Sainsburys (whoa - how about a whole book!)?

I am sure it would bring more people back to Sainsburys that any amount of TV advertising and be a whole lot cheaper.

How about a public pledge to reduce the distance that food travels? How about reducing the amount of pre-packaged salad especially as we now that the packaging process takes most of the goodness out? Why not educate the buyer why it is worth spending more on food - both from a taste and goodness perspective? (perhaps a blog might help) Why why why indeed.

Anyhow feel much better for that!

Posted by: Freddie Daniells | Aug 20, 2005 3:13:55 PM

All interesting ideas, Freddie. The key would be to make any food leader moves by Sainsbury's credible. Credibility comes when the moves Sainsbury's makes are not obviously self serving.

For example, we have already had recipe cards from Jamie, so that might not be seen as credible food leadership.

But we know that one of the problems with Jamie's school dinners project is lack of staff and lack of training for those staff. If Sainsbury's worked with Jamie and the Feed Me Better people to sponsor the training of dinner ladies, that would be credible leadership.

Which reminds me - I was setting up an interview with Carol Cone, the cause branding expert. I must follow through with that.

Posted by: Adrian Trenholm | Aug 21, 2005 10:43:43 AM

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