Are experiences the clever way to expose customers to products?

As Tesco announces an edible exhibition for the 20th anniversary of its Finest food range, Sparkie thinks this is a good marketing move.

24 September 2018
meal kitspersonalisationrestaurantsTesco

An edible exhibition will be created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tesco’s Finest own-brand food range, in what is being billed as a supermarket first.

Tesco is working with experimental food alchemists, Bompas & Parr, on ‘Devour – the exhibition you can eat by Tesco Finest’ which will launch on October 11 for three days. The experience will be held at Kachette in Shoreditch and tickets will be free to the public.

The exhibition will guide food lovers through six different experiences that take the concept of a tasting menu to a new, fully sensorial and interactive level, bringing to life the lengths Tesco Finest goes to ensure the best quality food and drink, according to the supermarket. The immersive exhibition will fuse the worlds of food, art, design and theatre.

Sensory selfies

So what does the exhibition entail? As guests arrive, they will step inside the Tesco Finest Vintage Grand Cru Champagne bottle to be greeted by edible champagne bubbles, which will bring to life the 250 million bubbles inside every bottle. In fact, exhibition goers will be able to catch floating bubbles in their mouths before enjoying an actual glass of bubbly.

From there, the experience extends into venturing down a Himalayan salt mine and embarking on a foraging expedition to play a wild mushroom symphony, as well as seeing an edible rainbow come to life. The multi-sensory taste journey will take diners through a whole meal from aperitifs to starters through to main and dessert.

Guests will also be able to take away their own ‘sensory selfie’ – a visual depiction of the tastes they respond to most strongly. An electroencephalography (EEG) headset worn throughout the journey will analyse food fans’ reactions to different tastes and record electrical brain waves as they eat their way through the exhibition, delivering a personal profile of their responses to the food and drink.

Sam Bompas from Bompas & Parr commented: “We see food as so much more than just something to keep us going – it’s a realm of the arts and it plays a huge role in people’s lives. We’re obsessed with creating new ways for people to enjoy food and are delighted, in particular, to be unveiling our edible bubbles which we’ve experimented non-stop to perfect for this event using the Tesco Finest Vintage Grand Cru Champagne.

“Tesco Finest goes to such lengths to find and create the best food and drink and what better way to tell those stories than to allow food-lovers to experience it for themselves.”

First coming to prominence through their expertise in jelly-making, Bompas and his partner Harry Parr have produced projects like Alcoholic Architecture, an inhabitable cloud of gin and tonic and the taste experience for the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, as well as launching a design competition to create three-dimensional ice cream moulds for London Design Festival.

Experimental experiences

Hannah Gunn, head of Tesco Finest Brand, added: “We're extremely pleased to be collaborating with Bompas & Parr for our anniversary celebration, bringing together our expertly created food and drink with their experimental approach to edible experiences. Devour gives people an opportunity to become immersed in an unforgettable, exceptional taste experience.”

Experiences seem to be an increasingly trendy thing to do, particularly in restaurants. Earlier this year, Las Iguana’s launched an Airbnb experience, with a monthly chef’s table from the chain’s head of development Glenn Evans that would showcase the food and cocktails from across Latin America. A recent survey also found millennials place a significant value on originality, with 53% rating a new experience as an important feature when choosing a place to eat.

So is Sparkie up for devouring this kind of experience?


Sparkie says:

This actually seems like a bit of a theme at the moment. I was reading about Gousto doing something similar at a pop-up in London where you can go pay £3 to cook one of their meals yourself. I honestly think that it’s a great marketing idea as long as your product really stands up to it. It would be a massive PR crisis of the product was poor.

A lot of consumers don’t see the value in premium products so giving them an opportunity to try them might be quite valuable. The big question is how the retailers and the meal kit producers attract those consumers who value cost more than quality. The Tesco’s approach is taking a further gamble through the excessive setting around the product they are advertising, because they might well find consumers asking the question on whether it would be as good when eaten or drank at home.

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