Yesterday at noon, Eastern Standard Time, Loblaw Companies Limited set out to break the Guinness World Record for the most wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese cracked simultaneously. The previous record was set in April of 2008 by Whole Foods Market when they broke 176 wheels. Loblaw brought over 250 of their stores together from coast-to-coast to try to almost double the record at over 300 wheels cracked.
At the Maple Leaf Gardens store in Toronto, in the shadow of the infamous 40-foot “Wall of Cheese”, approximately 100 spectators gathered around to watch 10 of the wheels being cracked. Shortly before the allotted time and announcement was made explaining the procedures. A Loblaw representative explained how each wheel cracker had been specifically trained to adhere to the proper cracking procedure. She then passed the mic on to an official representative from Guinness. He discussed the criteria for what it takes to break the record and how it would be verified. While a handful of stores had either an official Guinness adjudicator or members from the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium, they would mostly be relying on photographic evidence as proof.
With 5 minutes to go an announcement was made. At 10 seconds the crowd started to count down. At the stroke of 12 the tools were stabbed into the 35 kilogram hunks of parm. It took approximately one minute and fourty-five seconds for the first wheel to crack. The other 9 followed shortly after within the next minute.
From a press release today, Loblaw stated the record had successfully been broken with 305 wheels being cracked. They are still calculating additional results.
10 of 305 wheels being cracked simultaneously
An artist creating a chalk image of a wheel being cracked
A quick search will show you that there has been a ton of news as of late regarding mechanically separated chicken (MSC) and “pink slime”, an ammonia treated beef product that is usually found in ground beef. Well now a theme song has been developed for MSC. Have a watch:
Back in August we told you about Tesco creating virtual grocery stores on subway platforms in South Korea. Now P&G is doing the same in the Czech Republic by teaming up with mall.cz, the country’s largest online store. The P&G website has more.
Finnish grocery chain K-citymarket, owned by Kesco, is testing a new type of check-out lane for people who want to slow things down a little. Elderly and disabled customers are invited to use the slow lane when checking out. This check-out lane provides chairs to wait in and a higher level of customer service. Kesco has teamed up with Aalto University’s MIND research group to run the study of this experiment.
Home Plus, a division of Tesco one of the worlds largest grocery retailers, recently gave South Korean consumers an scan while you wait option to do their grocery shopping. The walls of subway platforms were skinned to look like actual Home Plus store shelves. Each product on the shelf had a QR code attached to it and consumers sould grocery shop while they waited for their next train. Their order was then delivered right to their door when they got home from work. Read more here.
in.gredients is a new grocery concept where there is zero waste from packaging. Everything is sold in bulk and you bring your own containers to take the products home in. For products with food safety concerns, the items are packaged in recycleable containers. Every item is organic, all-natural, locally grown, or locally sourced. They plan to carry all of the household basics including produce, grains, dairy, beer/wine, and cleaners. Visit their website at in.gredients.
The nose knows: We may not have smell-o-vision in our homes yet, but grocery retailers are trying to further tap into your senses. You might be walking through the bakery and have the smell of fresh baked bread waft by, but wait…the bakery isn’t baking anything at the moment. Does it still make you want to reach for that fresh loaf of sourdough?
For a mere $5,000 you can have your own scent designed and then have it put into stores for $100 per month. Some independant grocery retailers are toying with the idea and it will be interesting to see if or when the big guys latch on. Once they do though, you can expect them to be passing on the buck to their vendors by creating a new revenue stream for “advertising” to consumers. View the video.
Urban Outfitters’ has a mind of its own when it comes to store design, merchandising, and product selection. All of their stores are quirky and hipster-y, but one of their Stockholm stores takes the cake. It’s an old theatre, and really, the pictures speak for themselves.
Tesco, one of the UK’s largest grocery retailers is running a competition to build a board of directors comprised of 9-12 year-olds for their Schools & Clubs program. The idea is to get input from the people who are directly affected by the program.