May 11, 2008

A Love for Potatoes

We spent Sunday in London on our way to a week vacation in Barcelona. We went to visit the Marylebone Farmer's Market (a great way to get a feel for the relationship of local farming with its community) and we met this potato farmer with a stall called The Potato Shop. Because I'm in the potato chip business, I couldn't resist to speak to him. It turns out that this guy has developed 22 varieties of potatoes, from family favorites like King Edwards, Desiree to the organics Nicola, Lady Balfour to the rare Pink Fir Apple or Blue Kestrel (he needs to update his sign that mentions only 12). He has traveled through the Andes to find unusual varieties. It made me think about the trend of specialization and how, different than large corporations that benefit from scale and productivity, little companies have a wonderful opportunity to offer variety and be the very best in a very specific niche. To become the absolute, undisputable authority in a defined micro-segment. From gourmet chocolates, to rare beers from microbreweries, to oriental teas... the world is seeing a proliferation of hyper-specilaized retail concepts that build their positioning on this trend.

No comments: