The 10,000-square-foot store at 214 Harvard Ave. boasts that while it’s small in size, it’s big on value and natural and organic products, which are mixed with traditional groceries and specialty items on shelves.
Netherlands-based Royal Ahold sees bfresh as a chance to bring healthy food to customers with a busy lifestyle who want to shop locally, particularly foodies seeking fresh, healthy and affordable food.
“People shop more frequently because they want the freshness aspect of what they’re eating to be a lot more dominant,” said marketing leader Suzi Robinson. “People don’t want to trade off on that.”
Bfresh also gives Ahold entry into neighborhoods where it can’t fit 40,000- to 100,000-square-foot traditional stores. Ahold established a Fresh Formats division last year to develop new grocery concepts and opened a 3,000-square-foot Everything Fresh store in Philadelphia in December that’s served as a “learning lab.”
“The philosophy really is about value,” Ahold USA spokesman Christopher Brand said. “We do realize there’s a big amount of choice out there … but price can be a clear-cut factor for many. But customer value also comes in the name of convenience and the quality.”
Bfresh stocks 10,000-plus items. Prices yesterday included organic bananas for 79 cents per pound, 99-cent avocados, five-pack boxes of Kashi bars at two for $5, $1.99 boxes of Near East rice and couscous, a gallon of Hood whole milk for $3.49, gorgonzola-stuffed boneless pork loin at $6.99 per pound and a grilled rib-eye steak sandwich on fresh naan for $8.99.
Bfresh is working with La Place, a Netherlands restaurant chain serving made-to-order food using natural ingredients, for its made-to-order “Little Kitchen” operations. “The anticipation is three to five minutes for everything you’re ordering,” store team leader Coby
Bfresh also sells sushi, grass-fed beef, organic poultry and bulk grains, nuts, granolas and spices.
A grand-opening is planned for Sept. 18.
Ahold said it has no current bfresh expansion plans beyond a Fairfield, Conn., location set to open by year’s end. “This is a test format for us, and then we’ll evaluate how it’s going,” said Scott Miller, who leads the Fresh Formats team.