A new supermarket concept has landed in a small store on Ferdinand Bolstraat in de Pijp in Amsterdam: VkusVill. No matter how small the store (hardly 50 square meters), the ambition of this newcomer is big. “We are making healthy eating mainstream,” says Job Veltman, who co-founded the company.
“In the past, e-numbers, chemical processes and added sugars were not an issue at all. That’s why we introduced a list of prohibited ingredients. For the customers this means extra convenience, because nowadays you need half a study before you can read a nutrition label properly. As soon as you cross the threshold at VkusVill, you know that you will not encounter any unnecessary ingredients in the products, ”adds Veltman.
The products on the shelves are super fresh and you’ll notice. On the left you find traditional dairy in glass bottles with a deposit system. Twice a week, the farmer comes in person with the fresh production. On the right you walk past fresh unpackaged fruit and vegetables and there is a rack full of freshly baked bread. This bread, unlike many other bread, does not contain, for example, milk powder as an unnecessary addition. This makes it vegan bread. In any case, vegan eaters can indulge themselves at VkusVill. They have many vegan products and select them according a ‘clean label-policy’. “By this we mean that our vegan products are as pure and clean as possible and therefore these products do not have long lists of processed or unprocessed ingredients,” explains Veltman.
Vegan Trend in Amsterdam
“We are in line with the vegan trend in Amsterdam. According to the latest figures, the number of vegans has doubled in the past year. We are talking about only 2% nationally, but in Amsterdam this percentage is way higher. Our own surveys in the vicinity of the VkusVill store showed that over 50% of those questioned call themselves vegetarian or vegan. The Corona crisis also made many people consciously consider whether we should, for example, consume no or at least less animal products.”, Veltman reports.
New Mini Supermarket in Amsterdam
The shop has barely been open for two months and yet it has already been renovated twice, what’s the story behind it? Veltman explains that VkusVill puts the customer first. “We started with a mini-supermarket and relatively few products to learn what our customers need as quickly as possible. Based on their feedback, the first assortment expansion and associated renovation took place. The second enlargement of the store did indeed come faster than expected, but that’s just a good sign.”, he laughs. “Customers are happy that their wishes are actually being listened to.”
The customer’s opinion is measured via an app. Everyone can rate their purchases with stars, these ratings are transparent and are shared directly with the producers. This gives VkusVill the opportunity to make quick adjustments, and the producer is also in much closer contact with the end user. In addition, it is an advantage for customers to use the app. They are able to choose their favorite product, on which they then receive a nice discount.
Make healthy food mainstream again!
In order to achieve the mission and make healthy eating “mainstream” again, you need a realistic price level. The combination of super fresh products and a lot of technology sounds downright expensive. “On the contrary!”, says Veltman. “Our price level is not higher and sometimes even lower than the large supermarket companies in the Netherlands. We do not choose for major premium brands and marketing. That makes a big difference, because those expenses are ultimately factored in the product price. You can also find basic products with us, such as milk, bread, eggs and healthy ready-to-eat meals. You won’t find expensive luxury goods on our shelves. In this way we also keep healthy affordable. And not to forget delicious of course, because pure food is really delicious! ”
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