Twice as much fruit and vegetables in the average AH shop

We call it "our garden", says Said Belhassan, the Fresh Unit Manager at Albert Heijn (AH). He is referring to the fresh fruit and vegetable section of the renovated AH shop in Genderenplein in the Dutch town of Hoofddorp. It was opened on Wednesday. Here, the philosophy behind the biggest of the changes - a fresh fruit and vegetable section, that is twice the size - was explained. New elements have also been added to this part of the shop. These include a new potato and flavourings section and herbs harvesting. There is a vegetable and herb patch, dry misting and a better route. Then there are more organic products, digital screens and natural light. There will also be repurposed products from the previous week's discarded vegetables.
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The shop is not, however, one of Albert Heijn's showpieces. "It is a very average shop in an average catchment area", says Commercial Director, Marit van Egmond. She led a tour around the shop. This shop shows the direction AH wants to take with all their shops - more fresh products, more choice and more convenience. "Fresh products have always played a big role. Here, it is even more obvious", she emphasises.

The fresh fruit and vegetable section clearly reflects the shop's image. It has increased in size by 33%. Tills were sacrificed for this. This was possible because an increasing number of people are opting to make use of self-scanners. The interior design will change with the seasons. This will be emphasised by the seasonal kiosk. This means more choice for the customer. They will also be able to conveniently and easily choose a tasty, healthy meal. Consumers can help themselves by selecting quantities and ingredients. They can also opt for meal packages, inspired by AH. Here they still need to buy a few extra ingredients. Then there are meals or salads that are almost, or completely, ready-to-eat. In addition, there is an abundant choice of snack vegetables, soups, juices and fruit for snacks between meals.

The shop has a luxurious feel. The natural light changes the look, and there are islands of wooden shelves. The digital screens display product information and the dry misting, although functional, adds an extra boost to the fresh fruit and vegetable presentation. "The best of what we have today, has been brought together here", says Eva Mathlener, who is responsible for the (new) shop formulas. There is a sales aisle and bonus offers. These are to give shoppers the impression that they are in an affordable shop.

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