Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fresh & Easy to add British items after all

I pooh-poohed people who were looking forward to digestive biscuits and treacle when Tesco's Fresh & Easy first opened around L.A., but apparently enough people asked for British items that they plan to add more, according to the Orange County Register's story on changes at the chain. They've already got back bacon and chicken tikka masala, but now they're planning on adding other unspecified items as the concept gets some tweaking. Oddly enough, people wanted more sausage (?), so they're adding more types of meats and improving the signage. It should be interesting to see whether this is a band-aid on a bad concept or whether with enough tweaking, the stores will eventually appeal to more shoppers. Our opening week report from November is still getting comments, so clearly people are still getting used to shopping there.


Melissa said...

When I went to the Atwater Village F&E they didn't even know what clotted cream was, even though I'd read the chain was carrying it.

oddlyme said...

I think if they upped the Brit factor it would be a real difference to consumers - and help to them.

Right now they are too much like Trader Joes and Whole Foods, and in some ways, not as good. But if they added unique brit items and kept the prices reasonable, that would be a true incentive to shop there.

I'd love to have an easy not too pricey resource for Lyle's Golden syrup. And maybe some of those tasty fresh british chocolates?

Traci Anne said...

Oh my gosh, I'd definitely shop there more if they had specialty British items! They're much easier to find here in NYC, so hopefully by the time I'm in LA, they'll have stocked up!

Geoff said...

It would be nice if the items they add were of comparable quality to the "Tesco's Finest" range in the UK, but that's probably excessively optimistic.

my little apartment said...

i have to say, F&E has definitely won me over! i started out with a wrinkled nose, but now i visit F&E more than the Eagle Rock Trader Joes! i've grown to like how big the space is and i've found some true gems:
- the Taurino beer thats $8 for a 12 pack. it tastes just like Corona!
- the new addition of $2 succulents outside!
- their hummus is WAY better than TJ's
- their canned beans, ice cream, and fresh juices are all cheaper than TJ's

their produce is still kinda lame, but i love all the simple packaging and signage...i hope they don't Americanize it too much! can't wait for the British imports!!

jblaca said...

There's a F&E in Atwater?

Sandy T. said...

I am also a F&E convert, and adding more British items back to the shelves (they took a lot off when they realized that Latinos are not a different sort of Indian/Pakistani) will be added incentive to shop there. Many of their prices are lower or at least on par with TJs, and as the Glassell Park F&E is far closer to me than any Trader Joe's I'll invariably choose to go there. The parking situation is about a hundred times better, too - Trader Joe's parking lots are always choked with stupid drivers. Who needs the aggravation? So what if they insist on calling arugula "rocket?" Give me more $5-off coupons and you've got me!

encurtido said...

Count me in the column of F&E converts. I've randomly sampled some of the 'ready to eat' food - the mushroom risotto for example, the onion baji-thingys and samosas,
the meatballs - and it's surprisingly tasty. And the hummus rocks. Also the fresh fish is, for the price, actually fresh.

I don't go there for produce, I try to stock up at the S. Pas farmer's mrkt. F&E takes some getting used to, but it's worth going to. I'm not sure if having marmite is going to affect me one way or the other. Nutella, though... that's different.

The Cat said...

My local F&E (Arcadia) has very quickly become a weekly visit for me.

Pizza crusts were good, their hummus is incredible - only beaten by real lebanese mother's.

The prices are definitely lower than Ralph's, and comparable to TJ's.

Selection low, and, oh, by the way, you scan and sometimes bag your own groceries, so that's cool.

The Brit factor is nice, as it classes up what appears to be (by brand availability) a sub-standard market. But don't be fooled, this is a great place to get groceries.