METRO TURKEY & GASTRONOMETRO
PROJECT CASE STUDY:
DEVELOPING A LEARNING CENTRE & CURRICULUM FOR CULINARY DISCOVERY
METRO Cash & Carry Turkey faced dramatic shifts in the lifeworlds of its customers, the Turkish hotel, restaurant & catering sector. In response, they decided to open a culinary center & "platform for culinary discovery" - Gastronometro - in Istanbul, a market crowded with culinary academies & cooking schools.
In early 2015 METRO invited us to design the learning strategy & the learning curriculum for Gastronometro prior to its launch.
Over the following 2 years we worked on the extension, refinement & implementation of the learning curriculum as well as on questions of strategy, positioning & purpose, governance and operating model.
DIAGNOSING THE LEARNING NEEDS OF THE ORGANIZATION
To develop the rationale for & structure of the learning curriculum it was key to understand the current & future learning needs of the organization, of its diverse employee population & of its various customer segments. In order to so we conducted a series of interviews & focus groups with internal experts from all departments & levels, visited producers & suppliers and went on customer visits in Istanbul & Antalya.
Our very own, earlier research into Turkey's changing culinary landscapes complemented our organizational analysis & insights.
Antalya-based cheese producer Rani Ciftligi
Picture: Rani Ciftligi
Greenhouse of grower & vegetable supplier Erüst
Picture: hep. archive
PURPOSE & STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
Together with the key people in the Gastronometro team we worked on the purpose & positioning, vis a vis the wider Metro organization and the Horeca sector. The outcome of this were 4 strategic focus areas which constitute the scope & portfolio of Gastronometro.
Under the strategic focus "Learning" we identified 3 interconnected learning areas: Product know-how (technical-sensual-intangible), Gastronomy (food cultures, food businesses), Culinary Arts (techniques, applied product knowledge). We then designed the curriculum's learning modules & formats along this structure.
DESIGNING EMPLOYEES' & CUSTOMERS' LEARNING EXPERIENCES
Learning modules come in innovate & highly immersive formats. Their modularity allows for combining them into learning paths tailored to the very needs of the respective target audience. The emphasis is on developing a holistic understanding of the Horeca world and the professional empathy required to provide outstanding customer service & experience.
Learning modules in Gastronometro's training kitchens, classroom trainings, learning journeys or the occasional guest lectures & workshops by international big-name chefs have all become part of Gastronometro's portfolio.
Students at work during a Culinary Arts Learning Module at Gastronometro
Picture: Gastronometro Instagram feed
Top: an experiential learning format for Metro employees & customers
Bottom: Brazilian chef Alex Atala at an event by Metro & Gastronometro
Picture: Gastronometro Instagram feed
Gastronometro has developed into a highly-regarded actor within Turkey's Horeca sector as well as within the Metro International world. Its team has educated thousands of Metro employees and Horeca professionals and held countless internal & public events.
It stands for innovation, outstanding quality & customer orientation and a sincere engagement with the concerns & the future development of the entire industry, well beyond Turkey's borders.
Cooperations & partnerships with some of Europe's top culinary & hospitality institutions are proof of Gastronometro's commitment to quality & innovation.
UNDERSTANDING CONTEMPORARY CHOCOLATE CONSUMPTION PRACTICES
As Danone was contemplating to innovate a key product category, they invited us to help them to
Generate deep insights into the socio-cultural context of chocolate consumption in Turkey,
Explore changing notions of indulgence & pleasure, the role of craving in chocolate consumption
as well as
Identify contemporary trends in the chocolate & dessert markets, in Turkey & elsewhere.
After identifying major tensions of chocolate consumption (childhood >< adulthood, indulgence >< restraint,...) we mapped those together with our other findings onto the relevant consumer tribes.
INDULGENCE & PREMIUMIZATION
Indulgence & premiumization emerged as key trends in the chocolate & snacking markets.
Certain consumer segments "go premium" even on everyday items, others use a more selective approach to moments of indulgence, which alternate with periods of restraint.
Brands, such as Nestlé's KITKAT, respond to such trends by attaching attributes of exclusivity to an otherwise rather "ordinary" product.
KITKAT product innovation in Japan (top left). Callebaut's Ruby brings fresh color & pairings into the chocolate universe (bottom left & right).
Pictures: Nestlé, Callebaut
INNOVATION & CONNOISEURSHIP
Flavours, textures, colours & pairings are being re-thought in order to appeal to consumer who value innovation & connoisseurship. Manufacturers are communicating the innovations & processes behind their products more prominently on packaging – with details such as “stoneground”, “slow churned” and even the conching time of chocolate adding premium value to products. (Source: Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s Trend Report)
Pictures: Mars, AlterEco
HEALTH AWARENESS & MODERATION
Greater health awareness on the part of the consumer results not only in moderation but also in consumers' demand for “less, but better”. (Source: Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s Trend Report)
PROVENANCE & PRODUCTION PRACTICES
For some, sensual enjoyment goes hand-in-hand with ethical concerns.
In addition, an interest in "terroir", a sense of place, contributes not only to the rising of certification schemes but also to (marketing) claims such as "bean to bar".
OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO CATEGORY GROWTH
Nutricia’s functional food brands are leaders in Turkey’s early life nutrition market.
Encountering obstacles for further expanding the category Nutricia's Strategy & Insights Team asked us to develop a fresh perspective on their market & customer insights and to challenge their existing insights & assumptions.
This would allow them, first, to "see things differently and to see different things" and, secondly, to re-think their standard market research practices and their expectations towards market research agencies.
Pictures: hep. archive
INTRODUCING A SYSTEMIC PERSPECTIVE & ALTERNATIVE ANALYTICAL METAPHORS
We first conducted a critical reading of earlier research reports followed by interviews with internal experts. We then cross-examined these insights with cutting-edge scientific research into the subjects of motherhood & infant-feeding in the fields of sociology, anthropology, cultural & gender studies.
Such meta-research helped us to identify alternative analytical imageries (landscapes, navigation maps, tensions,…). This way we managed to overcome the interpretative limitations of the toolbox of standard market research practices. This, in turn, allowed the client to read & interpret current research in new ways and to commission new research which can generate novel insights.
We then developed & employed four main axes of analysis that were key to deciphering existing cultural & symbolic tensions in infant feeding practices: category contextualization, communication ecologies, stages of mothering and social identity.
Landscapes & navigation maps enriched the interpretative analysis of motherhood & infant feeding:
The rich scientific literature on the subject informed our insights:
Motherhood is not a social category with fixed content, pre-formed by structures or values.
Rather, motherhood is a social category which is being constructed while being performed among everyday social actors, thus done, re-done, re-enacted, adapted and experimented with in everyday life.
Contesting food – contesting motherhood
Breastfeedingis more than nutrition.
The issue [of breastfeeding] was embedded in a set of problems that require rethinking broader questions about the status of women, corporate power over the food supply, poverty and environmental issues.
Infant feeding consumerism in the age of intensive mothering
Motherhood, once taken-for-granted and relatively unreflective, has consequently become imbued with the meanings of risk, danger, responsibility and constant reflexivity upon how well one cares for one’s children.
The best thing for the baby
PROJECT CASE STUDY:
COMPARATIVE, MULTI-DISCIPLINARY RESEARCH INTO 'AFTERNOON FOOD' PRACTICES
In the spring of 2012 Zafer was invited to join a project team under PepsiCo’s Global Innovation & Design Lead with the objective to investigate eating & drinking practices in “afternoon occasions” in Brazil, India, Russia, and Turkey. The project's outcomes were to be directly translated into product development & marketing initiatives.
What made this project particularly interesting was both, its comparative edge and its multi-disciplinary character: the project team consisted of professionals with diverse occupational backgrounds: chefs, designers, anthropologists, sociologists, marketeers & product developers, architects & artists, supply chain experts etc.
Zafer’s part in this project involved preparing a detailed brief about afternoon occasions in Turkey and presenting it to the larger project team. To prepare the brief, Zafer reviewed the relevant literature and conducted about 40 interviews in Istanbul & adjacent regions.
The Research & Insights report consisted of 3 parts:
The first part provided a detailed discussion of the major social transformations such as growing consumerism, individualization and increasing social polarization in Turkey after the 1980s.
It reported on cultural trends and their reflections on everyday practices such as new sense of aesthetics and taste, rising popularity of chance games, new venues and occasions for shopping and new cherished values such as competitiveness, initiative and risk taking, entrepreneurship, and adaptability.
The second part of the report discussed the culinary formations, hierarchies and transformations in Turkey. It offered a thorough analysis of regional food cultures and contemporary food trends in urban areas.
Based on a comprehensive discussion on broader cultural and symbolic meanings of food practices, the third section dived into the established and emerging eating and drinking practices of afternoon occasions.
MAPPING THE SOCIO-CULTURAL UNIVERSE OF ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION IN TURKEY
Mey (part of Diageo, the global & Turkey’s leader in beverage alcohol) was facing challenges with regards to category expansion and with restrictions to their marketing efforts due to the regulatory obstacles.
We conducted a detailed qualitative research involving 12 cities employing focus groups, customer journeys, interviews & desktop research.
We identified major tensions of rakı consumption: Traditional vs Modern, Local vs Global, Masculine vs Feminine, Domestic vs Public, Civilized vs Wild... and proposed to resolve those tensions through reworking the concepts of Nature, Globality and Heritage.
Our Insights report discussed such "discreet cultural dilemmas of drinking" in depth, offered detailed portraits of the respective cities & their regional differences and derived conclusions for future marketing initiatives with regards to product innovation, brand & customer experience.
STARBUCKS - ALSHAYA
LOCALIZING A GLOBAL CONSUMER BRAND FOR ITS LAUNCH IN THE TURKISH MARKET
2003 saw the launch of Starbucks Coffee in the Turkish market, a country seemingly hooked on tea & Turkish coffee, with rather conservative food & drink practices.
We facilitated this market entry by carefully translating & adapting the brand's identity, its look & feel, its main communication messages, be they visual or verbal, to the local context.
Later on, 10 years after the successful launch of Starbucks in Turkey, we helped the brand celebrate its anniversary with an innovative campaign, which put the customers' stories into the foreground. Selected stories were then presented in a special book, with the help of one of Turkey's best-known journalists.
Because of the impact of our Starbucks campaigns on the Turkish market, the franchise owner of Starbucks, the Alshaya Group, invited us to work on similar campaigns for some of their other food+beverage and hospitality brands, such as Le Pain Quotidien, Pinkberry or Shakeshack.
DOORS FINE FOOD RESTAURANT GROUP
DEVELOPING THE VISUAL IDENTITY FOR
A BOUTIQUE RESTAURANT GROUP IN FRANKFURT, GERMANY
A boutique group of restaurants, based in Frankfurt, Germany, and consisting of several high-end burger as well as Thai restaurants, invited us to create the visual identity for their restaurants and to oversee its consistent execution & application.
CONCEPT DESIGN & CREATIVE EXECUTION
FOR A CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY INITIATIVE
Coca Cola Turkey invited us to conceptualize and creatively execute one of their CSR initiatives, geared towards youth.
ISTANBUL CULINARY INSTITUTE
VISUAL IDENTITY FOR ISTANBUL'S FIRST CULINARY ACADEMY
The Istanbul Culinary Insitute (ICC) was one of Istanbul’s first & culinary academies for both, professionals and amateur chefs. It offered training programs of varying lengths at its initial location, a converted town house in the central Beyoglu district. The Institute also featured a popular restaurant, run by its student & supplied with produce from its very own farm.
In the meantime, ICC has become part of Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, under its new name, Chef School.
We have created the original visual identity of ICC and developed the consistent application of this identity throughout their communication activities.