The landmark 80,000-square-foot flagship store, which opened the other week in London, England, is the first Whole Foods Market in Europe and marks a major step in expanding the company’s brand beyond North America. So don’t you think that means that their stock should start moving in the right bloody direction (which yes, I bought at the all-time high)?
The new store, opening at 10 a.m. following a bread-breaking ceremony, is spread across three floors within the historic Barkers building on High Street Kensington. Restored and updated, yet retaining its unique art deco styling, the space has been transformed to offer a fresh and distinctive approach to the UK grocery shopping experience with excellent customer service, food sampling and prepared foods selections mingling with thousands of fresh, organic and all natural ingredients. A vibrant food hall on the top floor features 13 dining venues with seating for more than 350 diners.
Ground Level: Provision Hall
As shoppers enter the new London store, they will be greeted by tantalizing aromas from the in-house bakery within “Provision Hall,” a name used for the ground level at the original Barkers store. The Provision Hall also features a cheese room, where shoppers can taste and select the finest cheeses from Britain and around the world with cut-to-order service. For easy pairing, an amazing assortment of speciality items such as olives, marinated artichokes and peppers, and other antipasti await shoppers. Whole Foods Market’s extensive wine department offers more than 1,000 different labels. At the adjoining wine and cheese bar, superior wines are paired with cheese, smoked meat and raclette. (Hopefully, they’ll bring these to the USA.)
Every day, a team of 55 in-store chefs will create a broad range of deliciously tempting, restaurant-quality prepared foods at Market Kitchen. With large salad, soup and hot food bars, as well as an expansive chef’s case, Whole Foods Market prepared foods options are abundant.
Lower Level: Market Hall
Moving downstairs to “Market Hall,” a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, extensive meat and fish selections and more than 10,000 grocery items are available. Along the produce department is a large self-service bulk foods center where shoppers can select just the amount they desire from nearly 100 options including nuts, oats and grains. Shoppers can mix their own muesli and grind their own nut butters. More than 40 varieties of house-made sausage and 20 varieties of meat pies and savory tarts are available. For the meat lover seeking the most tender selections, Whole Foods Market has an in-house dry aging case. Through extra humidity and time, great cuts of Scottish beef are tenderized to perfection. At the new London store, Whole Foods Market is launching its new Five-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program, which allows shoppers to easily understand how the meats they are buying were raised and treated.
The expansive 12-meter seafood counter features options including fresh-cut and whole fish, crabs, shellfish and convenient oven-ready selections such as nori-wrapped miso salmon. Whole Foods Market promotes sustainable seafood practices by working with responsible fisheries and fishermen; many of the fish are hook-and-line caught off the shores of the UK.
Also within Market Hall is Whole Body, the company’s range of natural and organic body care and cosmetics. Customers can sample new lotions and other body care products or consult with Team Members on an expanded selection of yoga products and supplements. Organic cotton apparel for adults and children are featured alongside organic alternatives for home necessities, such as linens and towels.
First Floor: Upstairs at the Market
On the first floor, “Upstairs at the Market”, you can enjoy a wide selection of eateries, combining food and fun with 13 dining choices. From the sit-down experiences of the tapas bar, the champagne and oyster bar, the pub, and the sushi and dim sum eatery to the open format of the other venues, Whole Foods Market offers plenty of choices to satisfy every diner’s palate. Choices from Jamon Croquettes, gazpacho with saffron mussels and fresh salads to house-made gelato, fresh juices, soups, pizza, fresh oysters, vegan dishes and decadent desserts make Whole Foods Market a food lover’s paradise.
How come this one sounds soooo much better than our Whole Foods?????