Morrisons fresh lab gets the wrong end of the celery stick

I was working at an agency within walking distance of Morrisons today, so I was rather looking forward to lunchtime and one of their help-yourself salad boxes of mayo drenched pasta – with a couple of my five-a-day veg sneaked in for good measure.

No such luck.  Morrisons seem to have tried repositioning their whole ‘To Go’ offering as Fresh To Go and got all healthy in the process.  As far as I can tell from a bit of googling, this particular Mozzas store is a ‘lab’ for new ideas and innovations to test fresh food ideas prior to roll-out.  Hence, a new dedicated front of store area with salad bar, fruit bar and make-your-own-hot-sarnies.

it doesn’t look much like this anymore (pic by jezarnold on flickr, CC applies)

There seemed to be half as many salady choices as before, some of which I didn’t even realise were legitimate lunchtime foodstuffs (quinoa, anyone?).  The experience was not exactly improved by the aroma of raw fish which was emanating from the fish counter nearby and half my healthy but tasteless and disappointing lunch ended up uneaten and in the bin.

You’d have thought that Morrisons would have put a lot of thought into something like this.  But then they aren’t exactly known as market research fans.  And even if they did do some research, perhaps they made the mistake of believing what respondents said.

Simon recently wrote a great post reminding us that what people say and what they do are often different.  In an ideal world I’d like to eat healthily at lunchtime, but at 12.30 I really want something tasty, filling, energy giving and quick to eat. And I suspect Morrisons’ customers might feel the same way.  It will be very interesting to see whether this particular innovation ever makes it to roll-out…

Update, 25/02/11 – field reports this lunchtime indicate that mayo drenched pasta salads have returned :-)

28/02/11 – just remembered that I bumped into an old research mate the other week…at Morrisons doing accompanied shops looking at various aspects of the Fresh offering.  So it would appear they *do* do research – but only once it’s into a trial store.

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