Carrefour stores
Carrefour stores in Shanghai are embracing QR codes as a tool for communicating food safety, quality, and freshness of vegetables and fruits to customers. The codes within pricing boards take local to the next level by allowing the customer to view the production place and date of the item, the business license of its supplier, and other information regarding the farm.
Carrefour stores QR
The in-store signage also assists in creating a deeper relationship between farm, store, and customer. According to Fresh Plaza, the intent is to improve food safety and freshness, and also increase farmers' incomes at the same time.
When our team visited this Shanghai location, not all produce had this option. For example, the selections of imported and organic produce didn't have QR signage. 
Carrefour stores
The cause and effect of food safety in China may have played a role in implementing this marketing and merchandising strategy, but we believe that there is more to glean from this type of communication. QR codes are not simply for directing a consumer to a facebook page. This type of implementation brings traceability to the forefront -- and inspires a sense of connection and trust across a global production and supply chain.
By divulging the names and relationships of Carrefour's suppliers to the community, including it's competitors, they may have gained more loyalty longterm. 
Simple and Crisp
Simple Crisp
Some things are just meant to be. One day we spot a new product in the cheese department at Whole Foods and the next we’re introduced to the founder of Simple & Crisp through a friend.
Encouraged by friends who loved her pairings served with dehydrated fruit, Jane Yuan launched her newest venture this month (she is also the woman behind Seattleite) to enhance the flavors of sweet or savory appetizers, beverages, and desserts. And it's easy to understand why Simple & Crisp will resonate with customers — in addition to being a gluten-free alternative, the products highlight the evolution of DIY and preservation trends with seasonal minimalism.
Simple & Crisp
{photo: Simple & Crisp}
We love how Simple & Crisp celebrates Lessism and sophistication.
Forward thinking and futuristic finds...

- New virtual mirror application enables customers to try on potential purchases via website.
- Hipster or health hazard? Maintaining "raw" denim look by not washing jeans for 15 months is OK health-wise.
- Even luxury brands now create their own online media & content bypassing magazines.
- Virtual fitting room use shape-shifting "fashion robots" to model clothes before you buy.

- Nowness reveals winner of Fantastic Food competition chosen by industry experts.
- Time to Rethink Your Message: Now the Grocery Cart Belongs to Daddy.
- Chef Ferran Adria unveils a new downmarket eatery, 41 Degrees, in Barcelona.

I'll eat my words if the Barney's "Have a Foodie Holiday" x Food Network windows are anything like these photos.

{photo: Nowness}

Nobuyoshi Araki created this exclusive set of fetishistic food photographs, starring model and actress Kiko Mizuhara, for Barneys New York holiday catalog as a limited-edition pull-out poster, and on the front of the ever-desirable Barneys gift card.

{source: NOWNESS}

Barney's has partnered with the Food Network/Cooking Channel and Illy for it's theme for this year's holiday campaign. The slogan of the season is "Have a Foodie Holiday," reported Women's Wear Daily.

In all honesty, as a part of both the food and fashion industries, it's hard to be objective. On one hand, you have a iconic creative director embracing food as an important cultural influence. It's like having the size zero model discussion without really saying "it's OK to enjoy eating".

“We feel like something extraordinary has happened in our culture,” said Simon Doonan, Creative Director. “The foodie icons are stealing the limelight from the regular red-carpet celebs. At Barneys our customers are not really interested in what Kim Kardashian is up to or when Lindsay [Lohan] is getting out of jail. They are much more interested in Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain and Anne Burrell. Food is just as much a part of their landscape as fashion.”

Then there's The Food Network.

There was a time when many of us had high hopes for the network and were engaged in the programming. Let it be known that I have always had a soft spot for Alton Brown's show.

But let's face facts Barney's: Anthony Bourdain (A Cook's Tour) left years ago for the Travel Channel (No Reservations) and Mario Batali has not been seen at the Food Network since around 2004 (even taking a new concept Spain... on the road Again to PBS). Anne Burrell is the only interesting (or edgy) host to join the network in some time.

Furthermore, the motives are confusing. Isn't promoting a show like Sandra Lee's Semi-homemade at Barney's is like saying it's OK for Katie Holmes to hack off that beautiful F/W 2010 Louis Vuitton dress?

What do you think? Is the Food Network relevant?

We're interrupt our Fashion Week enthusiasm to share news that has caught out eye...

- In its first major push globally, J. Crew announced that an edited selection of products and exclusive styles and colors will be featured on Net-a-porter’s Web site starting in mid-May (currently, J. Crew is available only in North America and Japan).
- Union Jack products are the latest shopping craze.
- Is Katie from Racked the new Tavi? We don't think so but we'll mention her anyway.
- It's an animal house at BCBG.

- Chef Ferran Adria said his restaurant, elBulli, will become a "foundation for avant-garde gastronomy lovers" in 2014.
- Tomato-gate? Former CEO of SK Foods charged with running his company as a criminal racketeering enterprise for more than a decade.
- The world's first open source restaurant opens: guests can dine and receive instructions for preparing everything they see, eat and use within the location.
- Midtown might be "gripped by the Pizzacone" (via Eater NY) but we spotted it first in 2006.

Interesting innovation found in Germany allows small farmers to sell directly to consumers daily without the labor, time and travel associated with a farmers market.

{photo: Franziska Luh via}

German farm, Peter-und-Paul-Hof, has collaborated with vending manufacturer Stuewer to create farm vending machines, according to Springwise. The Regiomat machines sell fresh milk, eggs, butter, cheese, potatoes and sausage in thirteen German towns and communities.

We love the update to the traditional farm stand and hope to see more fresh vending options that cater to local foods.

{photos: Equilicuá}
Made from compostable potato starch bioplastic, the Spud Raincoat by Equilicuá might be less fashionable than eventually delicious. A concealed packet of Mediterranean seeds within the coat will be nourished by the jacket material as it biodegrades.

Additionally, the environmentally-friendly jacket uses cute graphics to educate the wearer (and passers by) that the eco-product can be planted in the ground to grow potatoes once discarded.

{source: psfk & treehugger}

This photo seems passe in comparison to the fancy organic supermarkets. We're evolved to expect the a certain "fresh" look at grocery to tantalize the senses.

Many merchandisers have taken a cue from Farmers Markets. Whole Foods and premium markets have adopted the "Farmers Market" look and adapted it for grocery- giving the impression of local and seasonal produce under an organic platform.

Key components of the "Farmers Market" look include:
  • The placement of bright produce arranged by in color contrast instead of category
  • Produce free of plastic bags
  • Handwritten signage instead of computer printed ones
  • Stacked boxes in lieu of generic display fixtures.
We've also found that shifts in merchandising often correspond with a perception or awareness of food. Today, romaine seems bland given the lettuce selection available at any farmers market and shoppers are requesting local as well as organic products.

Given the current economic situation, the trend toward more basic foods and mainstream "Farmers Market" look, we predict that functional merchandising of like items together might be on the forefront. Additionally, functional merchandising (i.e. how the product is used), represents an opportunity for specialty purveyors to delights the eye with color while communicating a greater purpose (all of the items go-together in a recipe) in a seemingly natural display.

Think of functional cross-merchandising as the melding of farmers market and color trends with purpose and some suggestive selling based on consumers desire to have a closer relationship with their food.