Coles has opened its “most innovative supermarket yet” but there is one new product that could confuse customers.
Coles has opened its “most innovative supermarket yet” but there is one new product that could confuse customers.

Odd product at ‘innovative’ Coles will make your doggo happy

Supermarket giant Coles has snipped the ribbon on its latest small-format store and shoppers may need a warning on one of the new product lines.

There's a very odd new item in store and while, at first glance, it may look tasty - it's not for human palates.

The new Coles Local store in the oh so-boho beachfront suburb of St Kilda is the company's answer to Woolworths' growing number of smaller sized Metro stores.

Coles calls the store its "most innovative supermarket yet", aimed squarely at the St Kilda community.

It features a living herb wall, its largest range of vegan and vegetarian products, even a pineapple coring machine. There will be a "deconstructed meal kit station", a selection of "small batch nut butters" and a specially created St Kilda coffee blend.

Coles said it had conducted "extensive research into the needs of local St Kilda shoppers who wanted more convenience at meal times, healthy meal options and expressed a love of their furry friends".

This love of "furry friends" brings us to the wackiest addition to the Coles product portfolio.

It looks identical to the nut station seen in bigger supermarkets where you can individually bag your desired amount of, say, walnuts or macadamias.

In this store, it's not what you think it is. It's a pick-and-mix bar - for dogs.

In place of cashews, there are chutes full of chicken chews. Instead of soya chips, there are sausage bites. And it is just the place for Fido to get his fill of kangaroo tail segments.

Like the nut stations, you fill a bag with the tasty treats, weigh them and pay for them.

The firm said given more than 60 per cent of residents have dogs it was a natural choice for the company's first pet treat bar.

Kangaroo tails or chicken chews? Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Kangaroo tails or chicken chews? Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Coles' chief executive officer Steven Cain said the offer was unique.

"We are committed to provide the very best food and drink solutions to our customers and this store in St Kilda has been designed to appeal to the interests and lifestyles of local residents," he said.

The store has a zero-food waste policy where unsold food that cannot be donated is diverted to organic composting and green energy generation.

The St Kilda store is only the second Coles Local small-format store to open, the other being in Melbourne's Surrey Hills. That store opened more than a year ago so the rollout hasn't been swift.

Coles has said five Local stores more are in the pipeline including one in the Brisbane CBD.

Hughsey’s a fan. Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Hughsey’s a fan. Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

In contrast, arch rival Woolworths has been busy opening its Metro stores up and down major east coast cities for the best part of four years.

It now has about 100 of the smaller 500sq m supermarkets that sell grab-and-go food alongside home essentials and fresh coffee.

Last month, Woolies opened its smallest store yet in inner city Sydney. The 50sq m MetroGo branded store is so small it only has a single aisle. Nevertheless the store has managed to squeeze in a coffee machine and fresh food to go.

There are also no self-serve check-outs, with the Strawberry Hills store the first Woolworths to do away with cash entirely.

"There's no notes or coins. We're calling it cashless convenience," Woolworths Metro stores general manager Justin Nolan told news.com.au.

Squeezed into the store are cold drinks, a handful of hot and cold bakery items, salads and sandwiches, as well as some everyday items.

RELATED: Sydney family's small food company inks lucrative deal with Coles

Woolworths MetroGo store in Strawberry Hills, Sydney. Picture: Benedict Brook
Woolworths MetroGo store in Strawberry Hills, Sydney. Picture: Benedict Brook

"It's biased towards healthier food and has a very tight range focused on breakfast, lunch and snacking," Mr Nolan said.

According to market research firm IbisWorld, the convenience store industry is worth $4.7 billion annually with 7-Eleven controlling almost 10 per cent of the market.

Growth is expected to decline by 0.7 per cent annually. However, city centre convenience stores that sell food to eat now, such as Coles Local and Woolworths Metro stores, are best placed to prosper.

 

benedict.brook@news.com.au

Get. In. My. Belly. Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
Get. In. My. Belly. Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
A pineapple coring machine — Genius! Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images
A pineapple coring machine — Genius! Picture: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

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