Hill wrong about Fresh & Easy
In my experience, I found Fresh & Easy to be the exact opposite of what Kathleen Hill characterized as “customer dissatisfaction with quality, out-of-date foods and illness from some prepared foods”.
Her opinion, based on hearsay from “friends and family,” and without any direct experience is ridiculous and inappropriate to be printed in any newspaper, even an opinion column.
I have shopped there regularly over the past year and found many of the items far better in quality than what’s available in Sonoma at Whole Foods or Sonoma Market, let alone Safeway or Lucky’s, which is at a similar price point. The fresh shrimp are one of the standout items – far fresher than what either “gourmet” market carries and at a much more affordable price. The Il Fornaio breads are better than what Artisans and the Basque Boulangerie produce, now that the original bakers are no longer owners. And the Fresh & Easy brand teas match boutique brand tea leaf size while being price competitive with mass market brands like Lipton.
Considering that some local markets sell refrigerated, packaged food past their sell-by dates, I wonder why Kathleen Hill isn’t looking closer to home when she criticizes supermarkets.
I, for one, hope that Fresh & Easy will succeed in serving areas unattractive for other supermarkets due to their smaller format and self-checkout. They have a wonderful selection of European packaged food, including hard to find British goods like Lyle’s Golden Syrup for those of us who enjoy cooking from cookbook luminaries like Nigella Lawson, Fergus Henderson, Yotam Ottolenghi and others who have made London one of the world’s most exciting cities for food.