How To Profit From Massclusivity
As the holiday season begins its descent upon us, friends and family of foodies everywhere will be glad to learn of Zingerman's—if they don't know it already. Since 1982 the Michigan-based gourmet food purveyor has been home to many a rare but tasty item not easily found elsewhere, including a broad assortment of vinegars, oils, cheeses, breads, sweets and more.
Zingerman's offers a variety of clubs for regular shipments of upscale bread, coffee and other products, but its specialty Z Club could prove the ultimate gift for the food lover who has everything. Four times a year Z Club members receive a package of 8 to 10 food surprises picked specially for adventurous palates. The items included are chosen specifically for Z Club members by the Zingerman's staff, and may include such treasures as raw-milk Stilton cheese that had been "extinct" for decades, small-batch marmalade made from "calamondins"—tiny Southeast Asian oranges—or olio nuovo, a hard-to-find olive oil fresh off the press and bottled just days before. Packages always include a collection of writing on the foods’ history and culture and recipes for their use. Pricing begins at USD 175 per shipment.
Offering up rare treasures—or, at the very least, versions of ordinary things that can't be found at Wal-Mart or Marks & Spencer—is right out of our lecture notes on the trend we like to call massclusivity. Rare food items have become snobmoddities (commodities that are special enough to have snob appeal), and massclusivity-minded consumers will pay a premium to get them. Retailers smart enough to offer them, meanwhile, could end up awash in rare treasures themselves.
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