Premium fresh produce catering supplier and retailer Natoora has opened a new shop in west London aimed at promoting seasonality and traceability.
The retail outlet at 309 Fulham Road in Chelsea will allow consumers to closely follow the seasons and encourage them to consider the origins of their produce in the same way they might meat or fish.
Now more than ever, seeking out seasonality and flavour in produce over the ease of year-round availability is paramount," said Natoora’s chief executive and founder Franco Fubini, “not only from an environmental perspective but also in terms of our well-being and cultural heritage.
“Our hope is that this store will have an impact not just on how shoppers perceive fruit and vegetables but also on how other grocers and supermarkets source and supply fresh produce. It is time to rethink the supply chain completely.”
The company added: “From early season green Bergamots from Calabria to Tema artichokes direct from Sardinia, customers will experience the subtle shifts in seasonality mainstream suppliers have eliminated in favour of uniform, year-round produce."
Natoora's fruit and veg will be arranged according to seasonality rather than category, and labelled as ‘early’, ‘peak’ or ‘late’. At the back of the store there will be a ‘fermentation and preserving’ space.
Natoora was also keen to stress the traceability of the produce on sale, saying: “Most commercial greengrocers buy blind from mainstream distribution channels without any clarity on origin, variety or grower.
“Natoora works direct with a known community of small-scale growers and can trace the seed, soil and season of everything they source.”
In addition, careful attention has been paid to the design and layout of the store to minimise bruising and extend shelf life since Natoora sources its produce ripe.
The entire space is temperature-controlled to keep the fruits and vegetables at their optimum humidity level, and handheld misting guns will be used to care for each product individually when needed.
Whereas most supermarkets display their produce at an angle and tightly stacked, Natoora’s will be laid out horizontally to keep bruising to a minimum.
As well as wholehead produce, the store features a food-to-go range of salads, sauces, dips and soups made with the same produce that is available to buy in store and is supplied to chefs through Natoora’s catering supply business.
The store has been designed by Argentinian architect Noe Golomb and London-based cabinet-makers FincH, which has fitted out three stores for luxury skincare brand Aesop.
Natoora has three other stores in London, as well as a range of produce in selected Waitrose stores in the capital and a shop in Selfridges.
The company also supplies almost 1,000 restaurants in London, Paris and New York, with a focus on educating the general public on the importance of seasonality, flavour and transparency in fresh produce supply and consumption.