Porter Novelli

In our day to day business as marketers, it’s important to break away from the normal routine and immerse ourselves in the business of food from the perspective of the consumer.  With that mission in mind, Porter Novelli’s Food & Nutrition practice recently embarked on an inspirational, trend-focused trip to Mario Batali’s Eataly, led by Ilene Smith, MS, RD and an EVP in our Food & Nutrition practice.  With the recent boon in food halls both in and around New York City, we decided to descend upon Eataly in search of unique items and up-and-coming trends laid out among gourmet ingredients and bustling aisles.

From meats and cheese, chocolates and coffee to exotic spices, oils and kitchen products, Eataly surely has something for everyone.  It’s hard not to be inspired just walking through the door, as the welcoming aroma of espresso provides a little jolt and rows upon rows of colorful and bountiful ingredients are a feast for the eyes.  Our Food & Nutrition colleagues dispersed throughout the store in search of Eataly’s treasures, paying close attention to consumer behavior at each station.

Colleagues reported back on trends in heirloom and local produce, with potatoes, tomatoes and more available market-style, and consumers stocking up on a rainbow array of veggies.  The butcher station offered unique cuts of meat and bone-in selections, making for a dramatic array of products, and the cheese station had its own story to tell.  Consumers were interested in the history behind each cheese – where it had originated and how it was prepared – and from local cheeses to selections from far off places, topped with flowers, fruits or nuts, they were as decorative as they were delicious.  In the kitchen prep area, truffle slicers and more were on hand for the chef-consumer to concoct their own inspired creations at home.

All told, what you sell has as much to do with how you sell it, and Eataly is a wonderful example of an inviting, inspiring marketplace that pulls you in the moment you enter.  The open, farm stand-inspired layout encourages consumers to take their time, wander and get lost in delicacies and ingredients, stop for a bite to eat or glass of wine with friends, then take the whole experience home in the form of truffles, gelato, designer pepper mills or hard-to-find produce or spices. When consumers are looking for more than a box on a shelf, it’s important to give them the experience, memory or inspiration they are seeking to create their own foodie haven at home.