Willem Boon, Boon Food Group:

"When you have an excellent concept, money is less important"

Food and drink are at the bottom of Maslov's pyramid. They are considered to be a basic human necessity. This is not the right place for them, according to Willem Boon, the Boon Food Group's Commercial Director. The Boon Food Group is a Dutch foodstuff and fresh produce wholesaler. "Food does something to you", he said at the National Fresh Congress, held in the Netherlands recently. Food and attention is the new Boon's Markt stores' focal point. Because the Netherlands is not all the same as Amsterdam and not everyone is always in a hurry.

The MCD store in the Dutch town of Barendrecht was recently transformed into the tenth Boon's market. It is divided into 'worlds', including ready-to-eat meals. "We prepare these on the spot. Even so, the customers often do not notice this. We, therefore, have to add this bit of information", says Willem. "Getting customers to know what you do for them is difficult. When you point out the signs to people, you hear: 'We are not here to read signs'."

The MCD supermarkets, which are part of the Boon Food Group, are to all be converted into the Boon's Markt fresh market concept. Here, the shopping experience is important. "When you have an excellent concept, money is less important", says Willem. He illustrated this with a video clip done by the well-known Dutch comedian, Lebbes. Here, he described the perfect terrace experience.

"It is easy to build a nice store. It is the people who make all the difference. You must do what is of interest to the consumer." Demographic developments show that older people will become an increasingly important factor in the future. "It is especially them that have the need for the social factor that supermarkets can provide."  

Boon's Markt is divided into different 'worlds' including a fresh fruit and vegetable sector, a butcher, a ready-to-eat section, etc.

The Boon Food Group takes the concept of convenience to a more abstract level. This concept has to do with the time factor and how people spend their time. Supermarket formats are mainly positioned on the minimal service axiom. The Boon Food Group adds the dimension of a lot of time - very little time to these dimensions. They ended up with this multi-format:

Retail is a division of the Boon Food Group. This division has been broadly operating as a family business in the food industry for many generations now. It included a wholesale division from the very start. Recently, a new division, the Zorgboodschap (Healthcare Shopping) delivery service has been added.

According to the Boon Food Group, the future lies in the smart combination of physical and online channels. "Foodservice, retail, and convenience are going to overlap - in items and logistics", says this Commercial Director. He sees ample opportunities for the 'cross-pollination' between physical and online stores. There are possibilities for further development of omnichannel formulas as well as clever combinations of logistical processes.

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