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How does a bustling little market in Toxteth become a BBC Radio 4 ‘Food Retailer of The Year’? Simple – offer something different and make shopping fun.

If you’re anything like us, thumb the weekly shop is usually more of a chore than a treat. But there’s a better way to shop that will have you filling your fridge with goodness that ‘The Big Four’ probably don’t even stock.

Liverpool’s L8 Superstore on Toxteth’s Lodge Lane is receiving national recognition this week by being named as one of three finalists in BBC Radio 4’s annual Food and Farming Awards as ‘Food Retailer of The Year.

With an atmosphere that has more in common with a Marrakesh market than Morrisons, it’s well deserved (and long overdue, in our opinion).

L8 Superstore has no points, no jingles, no (evil) self-serve check-outs – just great produce, from all over the world including a halal butchers.

“It’s packed, lively and it reminds me of the best European markets…”

It’s a place that makes you realise how beautiful food can be and it does what a supermarket should do, entice you with possibilities and seduce your senses.  The international cuisine is mirrored by the store’s diverse customer base and a great big melting pot of flavours and ideas.

With staff always ready to making recommendation, offer an opinion and have a laugh, the store makes a stronger argument for healthy eating than any big budget government campaign.

We spoke to a few customers to find out what makes them keep coming back. Hayk Balian shops at L8 Superstore with his son Aram at least one a week. “It’s not like your normal supermarket. People interact with each other. It’s packed, lively and it reminds me of the best European markets.”

Sisters Sheila and Maureen O’Brien shop at L8 Superstore ‘almost every day’. “We’re both really into trying new food and this is the perfect place to experiment. You sort of feel that this is proper food” adds Maureen. “It’s not all vacuum sealed in neat rows, it’s a bit more rough and ready, but that’s how we like it!”

Our advice. Leave the usual list at home and head to a real super market.

Read more about L8 Superstore on Liverpool Confidential here.

Written by Gather

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