The French have some issues. Should the comfort and ease of the modern fast food culture be accepted, or should they stick to the habits of the traditional French kitchen? Of course, the French gastronomical tradition is of high standards, but specifically in big cities the pace of life speeds up, and the urban dweller simply does not have the time to spend hours in the kitchen waiting for a cassoulet to cook. Therefore it’s not a surprise that in Paris a chain tof urban comfort supermarkets has emerged. Picard runs supermarkets selling frozen products only. The space is full of sedan-type freezers (the ones you have to open from above), and sells predominantly frozen delicacies, ready for the microwave. Most of the products originate from the French ‘cuisine’, which means that quiches and escargots beat the pizza’s here. All products can be prepared in the oven or microwave in disposable pans. No preparation, no clean-up.
Picard offers its clients a hit-and-run gastronomy, for those who are busy but still want to eat traditional French meals. Interesting about the concept is that it focuses on people with a metropolitan lifestyle being not regularly at home. Buying fresh food then always leads to mold in the fridge. A current collective habit is that we tend to buy not only what we need, but what we possibly might need. When plans change we just accept throwing stuff away. Picard is based on this phenomenon of ‘in case’ stock that we increasingly cram our fridge with. I’m not saying Picard is a green company though. All the freezers in the store, which is unexpected and comfortably warm by the way, cannot be profitable for the world’s energy problem.
Picard as a formula is very successful in France. What Picard is known for is the richness of its offering, the high quality of products, and its service to customers. All based on a rich history, as explained by Highbeam.
“Picard’s history dates back to the 1920s when the Picard family delivered ice in the Seine and Marne Region. After World War II, as technology progressed, they began delivering frozen food. In 1973 Annand Decelle purchased the home delivery business and created Picard. The company began placing its name on products 12 years later. In 1998 the chain adopted the logo that it has used ever since: a snow flake symbolizing the world of frozen freshness and, within it, a little orange-colored diamond symbolizing life. Carrefour bought the operation in 1994. Ten years later it was sold again, this time to a company called BC Partners. Like other freezer centers, Picard sells more than 1,000 items. Each year Picard adds more than 150 products and removes items that do not meet a need. It tracks stock keeping units.”