Retail Insider Evening Event – ‘Future of food and drink retail’ panel discussion

Simon Burdess of Waitrose, Ben O’Brien of Sourced Market, Didier Souillat of Time Out Markets and Glynn Davis of Retail Insider

Retail Insider held its latest evening event with a panel of influential retailers discussing the key issues and trends within the food and drink category. The evening concluded with a tutored tasting of some of the best craft beers.

Simon Burdess, director of foodservice at Waitrose, Didier Souillat, CEO of Time Out Markets, and Ben O’Brien, founder of Sourced Market, made up the powerful panel who offered different perspectives on the way consumers now buy food – both for taking home and also consuming-on-premise.

Senior executives from Harrods, Hotel Chocolat, Fortnum & Mason, Cook, Crussh, House of Fraser, and InterContinental Hotels were among those who gathered at Sourced Market’s Marylebone store to hear the panel.

O’Brien highlighted how his model had moved from being predominantly focused on retail to over time skewing much more towards the food and drink sold being consumed with the premises of his four units.

Dealing with this trend is one of the responsibilities of Burdess who joined Waitrose in a newly created role that will utilise his skills from the hospitality and retail industries to develop the in-store dining offer at Waitrose while also leveraging the skills of its employees to better serve the needs of today’s customers that could go beyond the confines of the stores and into people’s home – through things like wine tastings.

Each of the panellists recognised the growth of food markets and the rise of the independent food producers that are proving very appealing to millennials. Souillat is very much engaged within this part of the industry through Time Out Markets that house an array of cutting edge foods offers with dishes produced by the hottest chefs around (as judged by the group’s Time Out magazines).

The first of its markets opened in Lisbon and such has been its success that a number of new openings are in the pipeline around the world over the next few years. Unusually the model involves giving the chef tenants mere one-year contracts in order to ensure the markets have the best evolving food offer.

Andrew Morgan of The Bottle Shop hosts beer tasting.

This structural change is indicative of how food and drink retail is changing. It is a similar story within the craft beer industry, which continues to grow and feel the effects of changing tastes of consumers. Andrew Morgan, founder of The Bottle Shop, held a tutored tasting of four craft beers for all guests to enjoy some of the best beers around.

Retail Insider would very much like to thank Simon, Didier, Ben and Andrew for giving up their time and for making it a very insightful evening. Also, it is a massive thank-you to the sponsors Software AG, Womble Bond Dickinson, PCMS Group and ORESA. Without their much appreciated support this event would not have been possible.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider