Meaningful food retail


How can retailers create food experiences and build customer loyalty today?

Food retail is changing dramatically: customers’ lifestyles and shopping patterns are in flux, disruptive new competitors are stealing market share, and technology continues to raise consumer expectations higher than ever before.

To stay relevant today and tomorrow, brands must offer ‘value’ that means more than price or convenience. Retailers need to build an emotional connection with customers in order to build loyalty through a relationship that goes beyond the purely transactional. We believe the only way to build this crucial connection is by keeping a laser-sharp focus on your customer while being mindful of key trends. 


At Kinnersley Kent Design we have been working in food retail for 27 years. Here, we're sharing insights into three very different projects we’ve been working on:

International food hall format strategy for Marks & Spencer

A Distinctly Different brand offer from Bateel

Millennial-friendly brand experience for Skinny Genie



1. Marks & Spencer

A flexible new food hall proposition that blends retail and hospitality, localising the famous British retailer for international markets

M&S asked us to look at four new formats for its international food halls to help tailor its offer for specific markets. The aim was to create smaller, more aspirational formats featuring a curated product offer.

Ranging from boutique concession to full food halls, each concept focuses on the theatrical and the sensory to create memorable retail experiences that reflect the quality of the products on sale.

We developed the material palette of M&S Food Halls, making them lighter and warmer, with a more glamorous look & feel that's in line with the aspirational in-store experience.


Each format is tailored to the local market, offering different products ranges and services dependent on the preferences and varying shopping missions of local customers. The ambient boutique format, designed to sit within larger M&S stores, has an emphasis on gifting and blurs the boundaries between Food, Fashion and Home. Focusing on the expatriate market, the product range is cross-merchandised to highlight quality, heritage and the ‘Best of British’.

The full food hall format – designed for Asia and the Middle East – responds to the local cultural focus on eating out, expanding the food hall’s hospitality offer to create a more aspirational dining experience. The concept encourages dwell time by integrating food and hospitality, and houses specialist ‘stores’ including a deli counter, bakery and patisserie with dine-in options.


Departments blend together seamlessly, with lifestyle-themed cross merchandising and M&S products on sale in the café areas. In the Middle East the format includes table service in the café in line with local preferences.

Although aspirational, the design is intended to be a flexible and cost-effective kit of parts. Modular units facilitate a curated edit, enabling M&S to easily showcase seasonal recipe suggestions.

The first new site – an ambient boutique – opened recently in SM Megamall in Metro Manila, Philippines. Two full-offer food halls blending hospitality and retail are launching this year in Doha and Dubai.


2. Bateel

A refined brand philosophy, identity and interior design for the LVMH-owned, gourmet brand, which has transformed the humble date into a global luxury phenomenon.

Food is increasingly becoming more of a lifestyle consideration in developed markets globally as customers increasing see the food they choose as a reflection of who they are.

With this in mind, means brands can no longer just represent products but need to stand for something credible and believable – never before has brand been such an important differentiator between customers. As such, every brand needs a distinct philosophy that sets it apart from competitors.


We developed a central proposition and brand philosophy of ‘Distinctly Different’ for Bateel, putting the customer at the heart of everything they do. Customers are invited to ‘Discover the Difference’ at the brand’s boutiques and cafés. New shelf-level storytelling elements will invite customers to learn more about key products, inviting them to touch, smell, taste and discover.

We are currently working on several new Bateel boutiques and cafés, including a new concession in Selfridges opening this summer. 


3. Skinny Genie

Full service branding and design for a great-tasting
food brand that also happens to be gluten free.


We developed wholesale food brand Skinny Genie into an innovative B2C brand, targeting health-conscious millennial customers with great-tasting, gluten-free products and inspired food service.

Customers increasingly care about a brand’s values and ethics, with 87% of millennials globally believe that business success is measured by more than just its bottom line (Deloitte’s Millennials Survey 2016). Millennials and Gen Z customers in particular buy into ethical brands that demonstrate integrity and honesty – brands that give something back to society and the planet. As such, we helped Skinny Genie to stand for something credible in the eyes of the customer.

Collaborating with the brand on its full offer, the project kicked off with a strategic workshop to define Skinny Genie's USP, vision, mission and values. We then translated this into a new, unified brand identity that encompasses and aligns graphics, packaging, digital and interiors.


The simple, honest approach to design communicates authenticity and highlights the purity of ingredients in Skinny Genie products, appealing to a young target audience that cares about health and wellness.

In line with Skinny Genie’s brand values, every aspect of the visual identity is down-to-earth, energetic, happy and friendly, sporty and accessible – with a quirky edge. Monolinear iconography features fun and simple icons to describe the products visually, from ‘gluten free’ to ‘low sugar’ and ‘cold-pressed’. Sustainable, tactile materials are used for ticketing and labelling to enhance the wholesome feel.


The interior concept is earthy, bohemian, homely and inviting. Warm pops of coral, Skinny Genie’s new brand colour, attract the eye and create focal points in-store. Customers can buy healthy and convenient food-to-go or dine in, socialising in the café. Domestic features such as planters and patterned tiled flooring create a comfortable and relaxed vibe. 

We’re excited to say the first Skinny Genie café will open in Abu Dhabi this summer. Appropriately for the brand, the café will be in the new Masdar City which is powered by only renewable energy sources. We are also now working on a kiosk format to introduce Skinny Genie to more customers across the region.


Milestone Projects

Fortnum & Mason

We redesigned the world-famous London food hall with a concept fit for a Queen in time for the brand's 300th anniversary. Since then, we have exported the brand overseas, adapting its traditional English style for Japan, UAE and Global Travel Retail.


  • Retail & Leisure International – Interior Excellence Award & Most Innovative Retail Concept


Centro is a high-end department store in Amman, Jordan, with a food hall that offers quality, niche products. We worked with Centro to define its brand values, refine its branding and redesign its packaging, increasing appeal to customers looking for a more distinctive food offer.


Creating the first Waitrose outside the UK to anchor The Dubai Mall. Designing every department, we adapted the brand to appeal to a contemporary Arabic culture whilst reflecting the ambiance of a British Waitrose.


  • Dubai Decade of Design Award – Presidential Commendation for Outstanding Commercial Interior Design

  • Retail Week Interior Awards Food & Supermarket Design of the Year

World of Food

Designing the brand identity and interiors for new food hall celebrating cuisine from around the world. Set in a department store environment, the premium yet relaxed delicatessen conveys warmth and highlights the theatre of cooking.


In Summary

  • We work with world-leading food brands on supermarkets, food halls and restaurants in the UK and internationally.

  • Our philosophy is simple: we design for your market. We always put your customer at the heart of every decision we make.

  • Our design approach is creative and strategic – we believe the one challenges and informs the other.

  • We are experts in translating brands’ retail presence for new locations, adapting to suit local markets and taste.

  • Our services include naming, brand identity design, packaging and interior design, masterplanning, circulation and wayfinding, and in-store branded experiences.


If you'd like to discuss your design requirements or explore how we can collaborate on your next project, please email – thank you.