UK supermarket chain Waitrose has opened its first in-store 'grazing area', in Keynsham, south-west England, which invites customers to enjoy gourmet food samples during their shop.
The grazing area is made up of a benched seating area with tables where customers can try a selection of foods, such as ham, cheese and artichokes, together with a glass of wine, for £7.50.
Waitrose's Keynsham branch reopened at the end of last month after a full refurbishment, and now features a deli, fresh juice bar, bakery and cafe area alongside its grazing space.
The initiative to offer grazing areas coincides with Waitrose's ambition to promote smaller, nutrient-rich snack foods, offering healthy substitutes to the standard three meals a day. For more on the rise of snacking as a standalone eating occasion, see Super-Luxe Snacking.
Waitrose plans to test various new hospitality concepts this year to enrich customers' shopping experience. As part of this effort, an additional 100 in-store cafes will be opening, as well as gardening shops called 'pods'.
Other UK supermarkets are also exploring new ways of meeting the needs of modern consumers. Tesco is soon expected to launch a takeaway food chain called "Tesco Express food to go", offering a fresh selection of salads, artisan sandwiches and roast chicken. The company also launched a pizza delivery service earlier this year.
For further insight into ways in which supermarkets are transforming into lifestyle hubs, see Evolution of the Supermarket. And for more on Waitrose's forward-thinking approach, see New Transactions Tech, Out-of-Hours Shopping, and Waitrose Farm Shop.