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The development of food retail formats – evidence from Poland

Edyta Dorota Rudawska (Department of Marketing, Institute of Management and Marketing, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland)
Katarzyna Bilinska-Reformat (Department of Marketing Management and Tourism, Faculty of Management, University of Economics in Katowice, Katowice, Poland)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 February 2018




The purpose of this paper is twofold: to identify and assess the direction of development of food retail formats in Poland under the influence of a changing business environment; and to identify the key challenges that food retail companies in Poland face nowadays.


The approach in this paper is a systematic literature review of publications in the Web of Science, Ebsco and Pro-Quest electronic databases from 1990 (from the emergence of large-scale foreign chains in the Polish market) to 2016, as well as the results of research carried out by Polish and international research centers, food retailer groups and institutes. The paper is based on the analysis of secondary data that present the results of research carried out on the Polish food retailing market. These analyses included the development of food retailing formats operating in Poland.


According to the research results analyzed, the evolution of retail formats is an embodiment of innovations introduced by retail companies and is based on the mutual permeation of elements previously associated with a specific retail format. Currently, the blurring of differences between individual retail formats can be observed in respect of two formats in particular, i.e. discount and delicatessen. The discount format occupies a special position on the Polish market, though it differs significantly from a “classical” discount. In discount stores so-called premium group products can be purchased, with stores more and more frequently being located in expensive places, e.g. in shopping centers or in their vicinity. At the same time, the popularity of convenience stores is increasing with a simultaneous decrease in the significance of large-format stores.


This paper provides interesting insights into the development of food retailing formats in Poland and the influence of changes in the business environment in that process. In addition, the paper describes the specifics of the Polish market, detailing literature-based theories pertaining to the development of retailing forms. It also focuses on the perspectives and directions in the future development of retail formats.



The paper is the result of an international research project grant financed by the National Science Centre in Cracow, titled: “Sustainable marketing concept and its implementation in selected European markets – identification of international differences,” Harmonia Funding, Registration No. 2014/14/M/HS4/00891 (Principal investigator: Prof. US Edyta Rudawska). This paper forms part of a special section “Food retailing: from farmers markets to retail hybridization.”


Rudawska, E.D. and Bilinska-Reformat, K. (2018), "The development of food retail formats – evidence from Poland", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 2, pp. 309-324.



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