In order to provide better products to its customers, a San Francisco grocery has gone into farming. This new capability totally changes the context of its brand, and its customer relationships. For the products it grows and sells, it is a genuine “farmer’s market.”
Extending the brand chain to the farm
Bi-Rite Market has been a local leader in providing organic produce and artisan products. Having its own farm extends its brand chain into what was once “supplier” territory. It adds unique brand depth and brand trust. Currently, Bi-Rite is able to grow about 5% of the produce it sells. Because Bi-Rite can “grow its own,” when you shop there you are closer to the food you eat. You have one foot on the farm–and that’s a powerful connection.
Deepening the brand engagement
By bringing the farm into the retail experience, Bi-Rite dramatically deepens its brand engagement with customers. Customers now have first-hand access to the grower, enabling them to learn exactly how and where their food was planted, cultivated and harvested. What had been a “retail” engagement is now a fully-shared “food” engagement, from seed to checkout.
Changing the brand game
Bi-Rite states its mission as, “Creating community through food.” Through its own farms, Bi-Rite is moving to change the brand game in food retail by changing the context of food retail itself. They’re integrating grower and grocer—and customer.
Admittedly, Bi-Rite is a small grocery in one city, but their end-to-end brand is one that large food chains (except perhaps Whole Foods) would find it very hard to match.