Rhyme and Rhythm to Inspire Food Shoppers

Sep 11, 2009
Bernice Hurst

Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire

are red

are blue

can write poetry

make cooking easy for you

one of the U.K.’s so-called Big Four supermarket chains, has embarked
on a novel way of encouraging customers to cook. Dubbed “Food Laureate,” the
scheme combines specially written poems by some of the best known
and loved poets in the country. The poems, along with recipe cards
and recordings, are available in Morrisons’ 415 stores. Morrisons’
website features video demonstrations of the instructions given.

poets Ian McMillan, John Mole and Peter Sansom are the first to participate
in the program.

back to childhood days, the company reckons that rhymes help us remember
facts and figures more easily. The poems offer prompts to what needs
to be done in the kitchen. The idea has been supported and endorsed
by the Poetry Society, whose director Judith Palmer explained to
the Guardian that
rhyme is “great for instructions and advice, making it the perfect
tool for remembering kitchen tips”.

following is one from Mr. Mole:

Better Batter

What you’re going
to need for a dish that can’t fail
Are a bowl, a deep fryer, flour and ale.
Stir the mix in the bowl, give your fillets a coating,
Heat oil in the pan then watch the fish floating.
Turn up the heat, hear the sizzle and spit
Serve them with chips and hey presto that’s it!

included in the first collection of eight poems are “Curry in a hurry” and “Use
your loaf” explaining the technique for making bread. Others explain
the fine arts of “crumble” and roasting as well as the batter advice

prove that poets can cook and cooks can be poets, consumers are being
encouraged to contribute rhyming recipes to the collection. “Use
them as inspiration in the kitchen or let them inspire you to write
your very own recipe rhymes,” says the introduction to a rhyming
recipe competition on the website. Prizes on offer include £500 worth
of shopping, not to mention fame as shoppers march around the store
reciting your poem while they collect ingredients.

Question: What do you think of poetry as a cooking learning tool
and perhaps a differentiator for Morrisons? Do you think a bit of
fun will likely be more successful than previously tried methods
to teach consumers some much-needed cooking lessons?

commentary] OK, so it’s a bit of fun and may provoke our own Poet
in Residence but viable instructions they are not. More to the
point, being amused might encourage a few people to actually make
an effort and that, in itself, would be a plus.

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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6 Comments on "Rhyme and Rhythm to Inspire Food Shoppers"

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Doug Stephens
Doug Stephens
11 years 7 months ago

How encouraging to see a company exploring creative ideas to make their products fun and interesting.

Without knowing considerably more about the sensibilities of their clientele it’s difficult to say whether or not this will resonate with them. But it’s different, unique and if we’re talking about it, you can be assured others are too.

I wish them success because if it does work, it sends a positive message to all retailers…that discoveries trump discounts!

Gene Hoffman
Gene Hoffman
11 years 7 months ago

If one can’t rhyme, it’s not a crime.
If one can’t cook, poetry’s not the hook.

Still Morrisons deserves our praise
For their new attempt to sales raise.
But after all the fun, grease congeals,
And new creations arise to make appeals.

John Boccuzzi, Jr.
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
11 years 7 months ago
I don’t want to discourage out-of-the-box thinking, but this idea is a bit of a reach, at least in the US market. I am curious to see what type of attention this program receives over the next few months. More importantly, did it generate any results beyond some attention on blogs like RetailWire? Certainly retailers need to come up with new and exciting ways to inspire shoppers to visit and spend money in their store. Some ideas 1) Create strong loyalty programs – Let consumers see that if they are loyal there is a true benefit. Years ago I read a story about a retailer that held a Black Tie event in the store for all his Gold Loyalty members. There was a live band and a dance floor as well as plenty of food. To qualify a customer need to spend a certain amount each year in the store. Consumers understood the program and how they could qualify. Nothing complicated. What are you doing with your loyalty data today?2) Promote Private Label – A… Read more »
Joel Warady
Joel Warady
11 years 7 months ago

No offense meant, but that is such a British approach.

That being said, I’ve written one for Wegmans if they would like to use it….

There once was a woman from Nantucket,
Who hated cooking and finally said $@!% it!
She bought Wegmans food she didn’t have to prepare,
It provided her family with great food they could share
Now she never worries that for dinner she will muck it.

Indication as to why this will never work in America, especially if they call on my services….

Warren Thayer
11 years 7 months ago

“There’ll always be an England…”

Marge Laney
11 years 7 months ago

Why not? But maybe with an American twist–Rap. I can hear us rapping our way through the grocery stores of America! I bet the Food Network is working on a new challenge show right now hosted by Guy Fieri called “Ultimate Phood Rap Showdown.” And I’m not talking plastic here.


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