The articles on Whole Foods describe the use of several marketing topics such as product mix, market competition, targeting, segmentation, differentiation, positioning, and channel management. It should be highlighted that Whole Foods has announced the launch of new retail chain in the name of ‘365 Whole Foods’ to extend the concept of 365 value products. The company aims to target the young adults and millennial shoppers who have specific food tastes as well as financial constraints in meeting expenditures. The purpose of new retail chain is to streamline the low-price value added products for consumers who want to spend less time in grocery stores unlike shoppers at large supercenters. The chain will differentiate itself by offering value and store-brand products by positioning the store with a fresh and clean concept. In addition, the proposed store will also use technology solutions to enhance shopping experience at 365 chain. Whole Foods is planning to implement these strategies due to changing consumer preferences and rising popularity of ‘Neighborhood Market’ adopted by grocery giant Wal-Mart. There are several customers who wish to get in and out quickly out of stores, while meeting their needs and desires. (NY Associated Press, 2015).
As far as the product mix of Whole Foods is concerned, it should be noted that the retail chain has earned brand recognition as a reliable organic foods seller that promotes the consumption of natural food products for healthy life. For this purpose, Whole Foods have not only inducted suppliers with federal organic certification but also educated customers about the health benefits of organic diet, which reduce future medical expenses. However, the marketers at the retail chain are concerned about the slow growth in organic foods category because of increasing competition from the mainstream supermarkets that have develop a significant product range for natural foods to facilitate shoppers across USA. Resultantly, Costco is the largest organic foods seller with more than $4 billion in sales compared to nearly $3.5 billion generated by Whole Foods in 2014 (Strom, 2015). Therefore, Whole Foods has strong penchant to retain its market position by adopting the concept of 365 Neighborhood stores to attract younger generation who have unusual food preferences and buying behaviors.
However, the Whole Foods have also been facing channel management issues that could adversely affect its relationships with longtime suppliers and farmers of organic foods. It should be emphasized that the bargaining power of farmers has increased substantially due to increase in grocery stores and mainstream supermarkets willing to acquire organic foods produce. Therefore, the dependence of producers on large buyers like Whole Foods has reduced considerably. Secondly, the channel partners also complain that “Responsibly Grown” program may give unfair advantage to conventional farmers over organic food growers when the former adopt modern garbage recycling, pest extermination and alternate energy consumption. The program will be demoralizing for certified organic food producers and in turn damage relationships between Whole Foods and longtime suppliers. As a result, the supply chain will be negatively affected because Whole Foods acquire organic fruits and vegetables from farmers to meet increasing demand in market. Next, the grocery chain also purchases ingredients to manufacture semi-finished and finished products; therefore, the strategic planners should take suppliers into confidence by addressing their valid concerns to avoid supply chain disruptions (Strom, 2015).
NY Associated Press (2015). Whole Foods: New Chain to Be Named for '365' Store Brand. New York Times, Retrieved http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/06/11/us/apuswholefoodsnewchain.html?_r=0
Strom, S. (2015). Organic Farmers Object to Whole Foods Rating System. New York Times, Retrieved http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/13/business/organicfarmersobjecttowholefoodsratingsystem.html