An explosion of food markets across Australia has increased competition for both specialty fresh food and unique, artisan prepared food providing opportunities to attract local consumers and international tourists. Opportunities exist to increase performance through developing place-making strategies to establish global market status while maintaining a true local profile maintaining the integrity and essence of a vibrant market place. Competition escalates between food markets and fresh food halls within shopping centres with both looking to offer a ‘market’ experience to gain market share of the non-discretionary food shop and more discretionary prepared food and dining dollar.
The appeal of food markets across Australia has grown considerably over the last few years. The market format has evolved from the weekend farmer’s market model to include more socially interactive environment with the integration of prepared food and entertainment. Food markets have become a social magnet across a diverse consumer range attracting families, singles, youth and local and international tourists.
The emergence of gourmet food trucks, international and local artisan pop-up concepts has created a heightened social and sensory experience reflecting our diverse, multi-cultural array of food producers and farmers.
Markets across the globe are becoming more permanent structures within well designed venues creating functional operating spaces, weather resistant and extended trading and providing comfort levels for consumers to dwell and graze. The market places of today take a civic approach connecting the local community with rural farmers and local producers alongside craftsmen, artists and entertainers promoting kinship and ethical community values.
Prime examples include the evolution of Borough and Camden Markets in the UK and the Chelsea Markets in the US, all examples of a successful transition from fresh food market places to foodie destinations. Chelsea Market reported an increase of around 30% in visitation after transforming from a more traditional produce market by incorporating prepared food elements derived from the fresh onsite produce. Initial resistance from locals concerned with maintaining the integrity of the market has been overwhelmed by the injected energy in this thriving destination located in the Meatpacking District in New York. Now a prime piece of real estate, the market attracts over 5 million visitors per year both local and tourists and trades 7 days a week from 7am until 9pm.
Historically, the ‘market place’ provided more than just a venue to purchase fresh food and general supplies. It allowed rural and urban people to meet and connect, sharing news and knowledge. Today our markets reflect this ‘feel good’ factor with the community. The unique mix of local and ethnic food and produce attracts our diverse, multi cultural population and food tourists from across the globe offering a real snapshot to the region/country and its culture.
Creating the ultimate market place should include both sets of users groups – local and tourists. The strategy, based on market research and analytics, starts with a concept vision that includes developing a compelling product/stall mix, innovative design and layout features, adequate operational services and facilities, active marketing and events plan to activate and support a forecasted increase in visitation, sales and highlighting potential increases in leasing revenue and asset growth across a broader trading platform. Mapping out the strategy and business plan is essential to deliver the critical success factors prior to executing the design and development plans.
The following photos showcase the new (October 2014) Markthal in Rotterdam.
The covered market, located in the city center of Rotterdam, comprises 96 fresh produce units and 20 hospitality and retail units. The roof of Markthal is shaped by an arch of 228 apartments. A four-story underground car park offers 1.200 parking lots. This combination of market and housing is the first of its kind, making it a world premiere.
Also review Yagan Square – Australia’s latest civic market concept currently under development – showcasing WA’s innovative producers. An award winning design by Maddison Architects, I was fortunate to be engaged to develop the concept into a sustainable enterprise combining a range of permanent primary and secondary tenancies and a flexible offer of temporary stalls, pop-ups and food vans. Additionally, across this 3 storey structure and surrounds, the concept included strategic placement of cafes and restaurants utilising key vantage points, external areas, train station pedestrian track and urban laneways. Yagan Square (MRA – Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority) in the centre of Perth’s CBD projects a strong civic statement.