The opening of London’s second Natoora fruit and veg branch got us thinking about the seasonal retail model… and how to freshen up the concept of sustainability.
If we’re all completely honest, do we really know which fruit and veg are in season, and which aren’t? Asparagus in April? Courgettes at Christmas? The truth is that we’re all so used to getting what we want, whenever we want it – we’ve lost touch with the way produce is grown and sourced. And in this ever more environmentally conscious era, it’s an issue that’s not going away.
A new way to shop
Enter Natoora. This growing brand is looking to change the way we shop for fresh produce. Now in three upmarket areas of London, Fulham, Chiswick and Chelsea (as well as supplying some of the UK’s top chefs and hosting concessions in six Waitrose branches), they’re on a mission to replace what the founders see as a broken, opaque food system. Natoora’s answer? A transparent and completely sustainable supply chain, using a rotation of small-scale suppliers, and only stocking seasonal produce.
Back to (revolutionary) basics
With the clever positioning of ‘Radical Seasonality’, Natoora is putting the focus back onto the true costs of farming. They invite their customers to stop thinking of four seasons, and recognise only three: early, peak and late. We love the revolutionary feel of this; while other brands are built on sustainability models, Natoora really owns it; they live and breathe it, right through to the shopping experience. Its stores, for example, showcase the fruit and veg in a way that feels exciting and new. Clean lines and geometric concrete-style architecture put the produce centre stage – the starkness of the grey highlighting the bright colours of the fruit and veg.
Intelligent spot-lighting adds theatre, making each piece feel like a true work of art. Natoora’s ethos is to highlight the craftsmanship that goes into growing and farming – and this couldn’t be more evident in the stores, with provenance maps and stories (including info on how it shouldn’t be done) sitting alongside much of the produce.
Keeping it fresh and real
Perfection isn’t the aim here. There’s no plastic packaging keeping everything uniform, produce is haphazardly arranged, and there are slight imperfections on pieces of fruit and veg. Everything is there to remind you that these are natural products, supplied by small-scale suppliers.
So even if the concept of seasonality isn’t entirely radical in itself, the way Natoora presents it feels fresh and new. And in today’s busy commercial sustainability landscape, that’s a great thing for a brand.