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Whole Foods and the Natural Food Channel

  • February 2014
  • -
  • Packaged Facts
  • -
  • 146 pages

The world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods with $12.9 billion in fiscal 2013 sales, Whole Foods Market has long been way ahead of the general retail curve, recognizing, capturing, and driving trends with a strategy of carrying a broad selection of high quality foods that appeal to both natural/organic food shoppers and gourmets. The chain’s retail strengths echo market strategies similar to its competitor Trader Joe’s, as both seek to capitalize on growing consumer interest in natural and organic products. In many ways, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s also have very similar—and actually often the same—customers. Yet, the striking differences between the two chains are what keep the same consumers shopping at both. At Whole Foods, the focus is premium quality and huge selection. At Trader Joe’s, the focus is a sharply edited assortment of great products at great prices.

In separate chapters, Whole Foods and the Natural Food Channel analyzes Whole Food’s historical growth and expansion strategies, mission/position, store location and design, product standards and programs, use of private label, pricing, advertising and use of social media, organizational structure, ethical and environmental initiatives, consumer demographics and psychographics, and more.

In addition the Retail Competitors chapter examines the wave of up-and-coming competitors in the natural foods space. In the past two years, several growth-oriented specialty food retailers and natural food chains—including Sprouts Farmers Market, The Fresh Market, Fairway Market, and Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage—tapped the stock market with initial public offerings (IPOs). Natural Markets Food Group, which owns the Mrs. Green’s Natural Market chain, is said to be eyeing an IPO as well. Then there is startup company Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, backed by Midwest-based supercenter retailer Meijer Co. It also is strongly rumored that billionaire investor Ron Burkle’s private equity firm Yucaipa Cos. plans to revive the Wild Oats Market name, converting the Fresh & Easy stores it acquired from Tesco Plc in November 2013 into Wild Oats natural foods markets. No. 1 supermarket operator Kroger Co., which maintains more than 2,400 stores across the country under regional banners including Kroger, Ralph’s, and Fry’s, is also making a play for the natural and organic food space and considers itself the second-largest player in this market after Whole Foods.

Each chapter contains copious tables, charts, graphs, and illustrations that reinforce and make easy to grasp points made in the text.

Our sources of information for Whole Foods and the Natural Food Channel include primary research entailing interviews with retailers and other members of the industry, and on-site examination of retail stores. Secondary research involved the evaluation and comparison of data from articles found in financial, marketing, and industry publications, as well as on corresponding websites and in consumer social media. Other sources for secondary data include annual reports, 10-Ks, transcripts of earnings calls, and literature from individual companies. Consumer data are derived from Simmons National Consumer Surveys for Summer 2013, from Experian Marketing Services.

Trader Joe’s and the Natural Food Channel (February 2014) is also available from Packaged Facts as a companion report. Chapters 3 and 4 in these reports contain parallel content. If you purchase Whole Foods and the Natural Food Channel, receive a $750 discount on our Trader Joe’s report.

Table Of Contents

Whole Foods and the Natural Food Channel
Chapter 1: Executive Summary
Capsule Profile
Whole Foods Market Progress
Table 1-1: Growth of Whole Foods Market, 2009-2013
Trimmed Financial Guidance
Projecting 1,200 U.S. Stores
Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's
Table 1-2: Whole Foods Market vs. Trader Joe's, 2013
Upsurge of Competition in Natural Foods
Table 1-3: Selected Fresh and Natural Foods Competitors, 2013
12% of Adults Shop at Whole Foods
Figure 1-1: Share of U.S. Adults Who Shop in Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Natural Food Channel, 2014 (percent)
Figure 1-2: Share of U.S. Population Shopping at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, 2013 (percent)
Percentage of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's Shoppers on the Ups
Table 1-4: Trends in Retail Shopping, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
High Socioeconomic Status Characterizes Whole Foods and Trader Joe's Shoppers
AttitudesToward Food
Shopping Attitudes and Behaviors
Attitudes and Behaviors Toward Environmental Concerns
Organic, Whole Grains, and Fresh Labels Sought by Whole Foods Shoppers ..
Figure 1-3: Characteristics Sought Out by Consumers When Food Shopping, 2014 (percent)
Chapter 2: Whole Foods Market
Capsule Profile
Illustration 2-1: The Flagship Whole Foods Market Store in Austin, TX, with its Corporate Headquarters Behind It
Whole Foods Market Progress
Table 2-1 Growth of Whole Foods Market, 2009-2013
Financial Guidance
Projecting 1,200 U.S. Stores
Founding and Expansion
Illustration 2-2: The First Whole Foods Market Store in Austin, TX
Potential for Online Sales
Mission/Position
Figure 2-1: The Whole Foods Market Conscious Business Model
Stores
New Store Size Shrinking
Figure 2-2: Whole Foods Market Average New Store Size, 2008-2013 (in square feet)
Weak International Presence
Illustration 2-3: Whole Foods Market in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Opening Stores in Inner-City Neighborhoods
Illustration 2-4: Crowds at the Opening of the Whole Foods Market Store in Detroit
Store Design and Amenities
Illustration 2-5: A Whole Foods Market Produce Department
Illustration 2-6: Grocery Aisles in the Whole Foods Arabella Station, New Orleans Store
Illustration 2-7: A Whole Body Department
Illustration 2-8: The Seafood Department in the Lamar, Austin, TX Store
Drink while Grocery Shopping
Product Mix
Strong Focus on Prepared Foods and In-Store Dining
Illustration 2-9: A Whole Foods Market Hot Bar
Illustration 2-10: Single-Serve Cakes at Whole Foods Market
Illustration 2-11: Tap Room in the Columbus Circle, NYC Whole Foods Store
Product Standards and Programs
Private Label
Illustration 2-12: Whole Foods Market's 365 Everyday Value Organic Almond Milk
Whole Foods Market's Pricing
Illustration 2-13: Whole Foods' Whole Deal Flyer
Special Deals and “Flash Sales”
Whole Foods Testing Loyalty Program
Illustration 2-14: Coupons in a Whole Deal Flyer
Whole Foods Offers Coupons to Dominick's Shoppers
Organizational Structure
Purchasing Structure
A Company Built on Teamwork
Robb Stepping into the Spotlight
Superior Customer Service
Ethical Initiatives
Sustainable Seafood
Animal Welfare
Figure 2-3: Whole Foods Market 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards
Illustration 2-15: Display of Local Beef with Animal Welfare Rating in Raleigh, NC .
Health Starts Here
Illustration 2-16: Health Starts Here Sign in Produce Department
Whole Foods Sets 2018 Deadline for Non-GMO Labeling
Rooftop and Other Gardens
Illustration 2-17: The New Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn, NY, Features a Hydroponic Rooftop Garden
Environmental Stewardship
Illustration 2-18: Wind- and Solar-Powered Streetlights at the Brooklyn, NY Store ..
Advertising and Marketing: Mission Driven Values and Aggressive
PR Images
Table 2-2: 2012 Advertising and Marketing Expenses: Whole Foods Market vs. Safeway
Company
Total Revenues (in billions)
Advertising and Marketing Expenses (in millions)
% of Revenues
Illustration 2-19: Whole Foods Midwest TV Commercial
Strong Social Media Presence
Twitter
Illustration 2-20: Whole Foods Market on Twitter
Facebook
Illustration 2-21: Whole Foods Market on Facebook
Pinterest
Tumblr
Illustration 2-22: Whole Foods Market's Dark Rye Magazine on Tumblr
Instagram
Google+
Dark Rye on TV
Illustration 2-23: Dark Rye, the Television Show
Community Involvement
Illustration 2-24: A Whole Planet Foundation Microentrepreneur in Senegal
Whole Foods Venturing Beyond Food
Whole Foods Launches Foodie Adventure Tours…
Illustration 2-25: A Whole Journeys Tour Group in Turkey
… and Music Albums
Illustration 2-26: Whole Foods Market Is Now Selling Vinyl Records in Select Stores
Will Whole Foods Open a Health Resort?
Criticism and Controversies
Appeal Broadening to Mainstream Consumers
Chapter 3: Retail Competition
Competition from Other Retailers
Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's
Table 3-1: Whole Foods Market vs. Trader Joe's, 2013
Upsurge of Competition in Natural Foods
Table 3-2: Selected Fresh and Natural Foods Competitors, 2013
Sprouts Farmers Market Positions as Less Expensive
Illustration 3-1: Exterior of Sprouts Farmers Market in Redondo Beach, CA
Illustration 3-2: Interior of a Sprouts Farmers Market
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Planning Major Expansion
Illustration 3-3: Cover of Prospectus for Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
Illustration 3-4: Natural Grocers Storefront
The Fresh Market Tries Expanding from Regional to National
Illustration 3-5: The Fresh Market, Rendering of Interior
Fairway Market
Illustration 3-6: Interior of Fairway Market in Nanuet, NY
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Just Starting Up
Illustration 3-7: Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Rendering of Exterior
Illustration 3-8: Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Rendering of Interior
Will Wild Oats Return?
Illustration 3-9: An Old Wild Oats Store
The Fresh and Easy Fiasco
Mrs. Green's Natural Markets
Illustration 3-10: Mrs. Green's Natural Market
Kroger Targeting Natural and Organic Foods
Illustration 3-11: A Kroger Marketplace Store
Chapter 4: The Natural Food Store Shopper
About the Consumer Survey Data
12% of Adults Shop at Whole Foods Market
Figure 4-1: Share of U.S. Adults Who Shop in Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Independent Natural Food Channel, 2014 (percent)
Figure 4-2: Share of U.S. Population Shopping at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, 2013 (percent)
Percentage of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's Shoppers on the Ups
Table 4-1: Trends in Retail Shopping, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
High Socioeconomic Status Characterizes Whole Foods and Trader Joe's Shoppers
Least Likely Shoppers Have Low Education and Income
Table 4-2: Selected High-Index Demographics of Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe's Shoppers, 2013 (index)
Table 4-3: Demographic Overview of Whole Foods Shoppers, 2013 (percent, number and index of U.S. adults)
Table 4-4: Demographic Overview of Trader Joe's Shoppers, 2013 (percent, number and index of U.S. adults)
Attitudes Toward Food
Table 4-5: Consumer Attitudes/Opinions Toward Food: All Consumers vs. Any Supermarket/Supercenter, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's Shoppers, 2013 (percent and index of U.S. adults)
Table 4-6: Consumer Attitudes/Opinions Toward Food: All Consumers vs. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Independent Natural Food Store Shoppers, 2014 (percent)
Organic, Whole Grains, and Fresh Among Tags Sought Out by Whole Foods Shoppers
Figure 4-3: Characteristics Sought Out by Consumers When Food Shopping, 2014 (percent)
19% of Whole Foods Shoppers Spend $150+ Weekly on Groceries
Figure 4-4: About How Much Do You Spend Weekly On Grocery Shopping?, 2014 (percent)
Shopping Attitudes and Behaviors
Table 4-7: Consumer Attitudes/Behaviors Toward Shopping: All Consumers vs. Any Supermarket/ Supercenter, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's Shoppers, 2013 (percent and index of U.S. adults)
Attitudes and Behaviors Toward Environmental Concerns
Table 4-8: Consumer Attitudes/Behaviors Toward Environmental Concerns: All Grocery Shoppers vs. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's Shoppers, 2013 (percent any agree and index of U.S. adults)

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