Museum voor het Kruideniersbedrijf
About Museum voor het KruideniersbedrijfIMPORTANT: We are closed until further notice! Maarrr ..... early 2021 we will be back in a renewed concept in 't Hoogt 10! If you are interested in working with us as a volunteer, please let us know.
Back in time
Traded in food is always there. That goes back to, for example, the Roman Empire or the Chinese Han dynasty. Our country has also been known from way back as a trading nation and, just to take a leap in time, in the Middle Ages the peddlers and hawkers were a familiar sight, as were the many markets. The wholesale trade in foodstuffs arises when the countries on the Mediterranean, Baltic and North Sea start to exchange their goods on a large scale. Subsequently, the overseas territories are exposed and the Netherlands has to deal with the trade in "Colonial Goods". Products such as tobacco, coffee, tea, spices and herbs enriched the range in those days. The traveling salesmen and markets are gradually being replaced by fixed outlets, the forerunners of the grocery store.
These grocers, then still written as "Cruidernier", are often at the same time pharmacist and herbalist and will remain so until the middle of the nineteenth century.
Emergence of packaged products
The nineteenth century heralds a time of renewal. The first industrial wave engulfs our country, the population is increasing noticeably, the countryside is becoming more and more accessible and there is a great migration to the cities. Urbanization is on the rise, and with it the number of grocers. Towards the end of this nineteenth century more and more factory-made products appear on the market.
The ranges are undergoing significant changes; products are being replaced by modern alternatives (matches, for example, replace the sulfur sticks and cleaning and abrasives scouring sand and carbon black). New products will be added, such as children's flour, macaroni, cornstarch, custard, oatmeal, stock cubes, lemonade syrups, peanut butter, sprinkles, toothpaste and soap. In short, packaged (brand) items was born and the grocery store is definitely getting a different face.
Prospective shopkeepers at that time led the way and founded chains of branches, as much as possible outside the wholesale trade. It is the beginning of the chain store business (GWB), as we still know it today. The labor movement has initiated initiatives to set up so-called consumer cooperatives, where members can purchase products such as foodstuffs at relatively low prices. Independent grocers are looking for forms of cooperation to stay afloat against the new competitors in the food industry.
Dressing shop becomes important
The grocery store of the turn of the century is experiencing a number of changes. In addition to the ever-expanding assortments, the presentation of the products and the decoration of the store will also play a role. After all, seeing is buying. Traditional wooden counters are making way for counter showcases in which the products can be attractively displayed. The oil lamp is replaced by gas and then electric light. Delivery by handcart, cargo bike or transport bike with a wicker basket is on the rise and shops are open from seven in the morning to eleven or even twelve in the evening.
And although weighing is still going on for a long time and the cone bags are filled from the can, the jar or the bale, the packaged brand article and the own store brand acquire a permanent place in the range. Margarine (butter of the people), branded coffee, confectionery, gingerbread, chocolate, canned vegetables, jam, soup and soap powder can no longer be missing from the range. However, fresh products such as eggs, cheese and meat products also find their way to the consumer via the grocer. The First World War caused a stagnation for a while, but then developments continue at a rapid pace. The chain stores are coming up with their first store formulas and the use of their own recognizable house style is becoming established. The factory litigation of foodstuffs by manufacturers and chain stores (private labels) is growing into a real industry branch. Advertising and other promotional activities (savings stamps, gift and point systems, coupons) are used as customer loyalty. Shop material such as posters, counter boxes and displays should further stimulate sales. The purchasing power of the consumer is increasing and with it the prosperity in our country. The global economic depression of the 1930s brought this to an abrupt end. Unemployment is taking on frightening proportions, purchasing power is declining and turbulent times are dawning in the grocery industry. Food prices are falling considerably and a real price and competition battle is therefore not forthcoming. The situation is compounded as many unemployed people start their own grocery business out of desperation. After all, anyone can sell packaged items, it was argued. Counts from that time indicate that our country had more than 38,000 grocers or 1 shop for every 200 inhabitants.
In response to this period, clear structures gradually emerged and the food industry took on a more professional character in those days. For example, the cooperation between wholesalers and independent grocers in the field of purchasing, storage and distribution of products under the heading of voluntary branch company (vfb) is taking on greater forms. There will be the introduction of a Small Business Establishment Act and a Grocery Business Establishment Decree, in which clear diploma requirements are set for the prospective grocer. The Grocery Company Vocational Training Course is established and the statutory audits of the Waren Inspection Service will be expanded.
The Second World War paralyzes everything. The consequences of this will remain tangible for years after 1945. The economic backlog that has fallen is not easy to make up for. Many items still remain on the receipt, are scarce or simply not available. The government follows a strict pricing policy and wages will only grow slowly until the early 1960s. In short, these are not easy times. However, it is also the period when, in addition to the introduction of the refrigerator, on the initiative of Albert Heijn itself, frozen products were introduced to the market for the first time, albeit on a modest scale. The new form of sales that the industry is reluctantly adopting is revolutionary: self-service. The first self-service grocery store opens in Nijmegen in 1948, the others will follow over the years. For those days, they are modern businesses with an efficient layout, where the prepackaged foodstuffs are neatly displayed on the shelves and personal sales are kept to a minimum. It turns out to be the forerunner of our current supermarket.
The price war in the 1950s took on fierce proportions and the fight for consumer favor is fierce. This battle takes place between the chain stores, the cooperatives and the independent grocers, whether or not united in an organization. Independent retailers are still in the majority, but are struggling. The Store Closing Act, which came into effect in 1951, stipulates that the store may no longer be open on Sundays. On working days, the door must close at 6 p.m. The number of self-service shops is growing, the number of service shops is decreasing. The self-service stores are looking for ways to increase their offer and at the end of the fifties, fresh products such as vegetables, fruit and meat are also added to the range. The supermarket is then a fact. It will also be the first signs of the increase in scale and cost control. But also of the major reorganization among grocers, which will continue for decades.
The 1960s are characterized by economic growth. Car use is increasing noticeably, the possession of a TV (black and white), a telephone and a refrigerator is no longer just for the well-to-do citizen. The need for new products, services and houses, which match the changed living conditions, is increasing rapidly. The proportion of household income spent on food is declining, from 40% in the 1950s to 25% in the late 1960s. A trend that will continue. Enormous housing is being built and many shopping centers are being rebuilt. New forms of mass distribution are emerging.
Cash-and-carry wholesalers, large consumer markets and cash-and-carry department stores are emerging, and low prices will play an important role. The term discounter is gaining ground in that context. It stands for a very soberly furnished self-service shop and / or supermarkets that offer a limited range of food and non-food items at competitive prices. The prices of the branded goods dictated by the manufacturer until then are ignored and profit margins are under pressure. Competition is getting fiercer, time is money and there are hard blows. The explosive growth in wage costs adds even more. Many grocery companies are becoming victims of the battle for the consumer guilder. The number of food shops has now fallen to about 15,000 and the end of the erosion is not yet in sight.
Big ones getting bigger
In the early 1970s, the oil crisis ruled the mood for a long time. Two streams in the food industry are becoming increasingly clear: pure discounters and larger supermarkets with extensive ranges. The latter now also include drugstore items, flowers and plants and health food items. The increase in scale continues unabated: the large ones keep getting bigger, many small ones disappear. Here and there the meadow shops phenomenon arises. In 1977 the new store closing law comes into force: open 52 hours a week. The weekly late night shopping on Thursday or Friday is becoming commonplace. New electronic payment systems and the computer were introduced, a first indication of the boom in shop automation that awaited the industry in the 1980s. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, our country was faced with a deteriorated economic climate. Growing unemployment has repercussions on purchasing power and consumer spending is declining. The consequences are obvious. competition intensifies and the ranks of independent grocers are further thinned. From 1985 the economy recovers and the I era begins. Quality-oriented thinking is becoming the new slogan and food stores are responding to this. Pleasant shopping atmosphere, service, wider choice, good quality, trained and friendly staff are the starting points / Price remains important, but no longer predominates. The discounters are losing ground, assortments are getting wider and deeper and the retail formulas are converging somewhat again. Collaboration between trade and industry, for example in the field of standardization of packaging, use of materials, etc., takes structured forms. The ranges continue to expand, foreign products become everyday phenomena and the 'shop-in-shop' system is created: small 'shops' with personal service under the roof of one supermarket (one-stop-shopping). The fresh food groups such as meat, meat products, bread, cheese, vegetables and fruit make up an increasingly important share in the total turnover of the supermarket. However, it is also the time of stringent cost control and efficiency improvements. The Help-yourself system has been widely adopted and automation is becoming an indispensable tool in business operations. Barcode and scanning, taken over from the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s, are becoming commonplace in more and more supermarkets. A lot is going on behind the scenes in the field of automation, without the consumer noticing it. But there are even more issues that affect the supermarket. Traditionally, the Dutch population can no longer be divided into families and there are more and more one- and two-person households. Work is important but so is leisure time. Smaller packaging units and convenience foods are, among other things, the answer to the food trade. The environment demands and rightly receives the attention of consumers, retailers and manufacturers. The glass containers become part of the street scene. Concentration in the sector continues, mergers and acquisitions are almost the order of the day, foreign chains are showing interest, the common European market is linked. And at the end of the eighties, the number of points of sale has already plunged well below 10,000.
"The future lies in the now"
Concepts such as marketing, communication with the customer, personal policy, stock management and logistics can no longer be ignored in the jargon of the supermarket entrepreneur. The grocer has become a manager, groceries are growing into a real profession. Attention to training in and outside the company is the most normal thing in the world.
Economic growth and rising consumer spending provided a significant boost in the early 1990s. The income percentage spent on food falls to 17%.
Today, the Netherlands, with some 4,300 supermarkets, has the unique situation that everyone can shop at a short distance. In addition, the supermarket also has an important social function. They provide varied and varied work for 260,000 people and play a pivotal role in villages and neighborhoods. It is very lively in and around supermarkets; they are the world in miniature. Moreover, the supermarket ensures that food and drinks remain affordable for the consumer.
We show how food distribution functioned before self-service and later the supermarket took shape.
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