Whole Food Market Assessment

Pages: 4 (1079 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Agriculture

Whole Foods: Case Study

Trends in organic foods

Whole Foods' expansion as a company seemed to crest with a unique degree of prescience, relative to the upsurge of interest in organic foods in America. Once upon a time, organic foods in America were only offered at niche health food stores and farmer's markets. However, concerns about childhood obesity and the safety of staple products such as meat, milk, and vegetables have cause the demand for such products to sharply escalate. 65% of consumers in 2005 had tried organic food, up from 57% in 2004 and 2003. Organic farmland has also rapidly expanded, meaning that stores such as Whole Foods have greater access to more localized suppliers (a critical point, given that buying local is another important food trend linked with an interest in organic farming). Today, Whole Foods is the biggest seller of organic produce in the world. It has also acquired 'Wild Oats,' another organic store, and has made that chain conform to its high standards of quality and overall approach and layout.

The establishment of USDA standards for what constituted an organic food product was also helpful for Whole Foods. This ensured that companies that were simply vaguely 'healthy' in their marketing could not make unsubstantiated health claims upon their labels. Whole Foods could justify its philosophy (and higher prices) with documented evidence that its products were prepared differently -- and better -- than products grown and/or manufactured through conventional food processing.

SWOT

Strengths

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Whole Foods has successfully branded itself nationally and internationally as the leading purveyor of organic foods. Since it became a publically-traded company in 1991, it has been able to finance a wide-ranging expansion, despite the typical 'small scale' nature of companies with a commitment to whole, unprocessed foods.

TOPIC: Assessment on Whole Food Market Assignment

Whole Foods stocks a wide variety of foods of interest to consumers who are focused on nutrition: not only does it supply organically-produced vegetables and meats; consumers can be confident that even the prepared foods they purchase have wholesome ingredients. Unlike a consumer at Kroger's, when shopping at Whole Foods for cereal, there is no tedious label-reading for a consumer who wishes to eliminate foods with high fructose corn syrup or artificial colorings and dyes from his or her diet.

Whole Foods stores are attractively laid out and have an ambiance that ordinary supermarkets lack. Even competitor Trader Joes does not have a place where people can eat lunch and relax, like many Whole Foods. Educational demonstrations, a wide variety of cooking supplies, health and beauty sections, wine -- all of this makes going to Whole Foods a shopping experience, rather than a chore.

Weaknesses

In a word, cost. Whole Foods has earned its nickname of Whole Paycheck, and because of the national focus on cost-cutting even its core market of more affluent shoppers may balk at its typical prices when many consumers fear for their jobs. Whole Foods also does not offer consumers much choice, to pick and choose what expensive food items they wish to purchase, and on which items they want to save. For example, a health-conscious student on a budget might be willing to buy organic strawberries, but try to buy generic laundry detergent to save money. At Whole Foods, there… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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