Whole Foods has been known as a different kind of grocery store for a since its inception. One of the things consumers are attracted by at Whole Foods is the fact the company continues to evolve. From the beginning the company focus has been on the consumer with a ‘halo’ of ‘better for you’ fresh food. With 365 they have evolved into Fresh, Fast, Meals, with Friendly Service at its new test concept store 365 according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.
Without doubt at 365 by Whole Foods the consumer will find the ability to buy grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meal components that are fresh, fresh prepared, and portioned for one, two then bundled into a meal for the entire family front and center.
Sometimes service comes with simplicity and technology. At 365 by Whole Foods as you enter the store you have the ability to buy a fresh brewed cup of tea from a ‘Teabot’ or a have a beverage made with fruit, vegetables, and dairy just for you from the ‘Canteen Bar’ that’s an entrance with contemporized relevance.
The fresh prepared meals are portioned for one or two and not only look good but create a platform for discovery for foodies from Millennials to Baby Boomers with meal offerings the ilk of Egg White Scramble with Sweet Potato, Carrot Cake Oatmeal, and Maple Orange Salmon.
I know all of those sounded indulgent but none the less our Grocerant Guru® found that consumer believe that interesting bold flavors are deemed ‘better for you’. Remember that differentiation does not mean different it means familiar but with a twist.
Worry not Whole Foods loyalist one of the stables of 365 by Whole Foods is vegetables. What’s exciting at 365 is they come in every form that a foodie today would desire including raw whole, cut and chopped, peeled and cubed, or as ‘spaghetti noodles’.
There is plenty of grocerant niche fresh prepared food as well from premade hot and cold sandwiches and wraps to fresh prepared salads and fruit sold from the hot and cold station in a rather plain self-serve offering. The salads, prepared fruit, and sandwiches were all tasty, fresh, easily portioned into any size.
Fresh food may be top of mind for consumers, preferred by consumers, but like so many other food retailers frozen food still has a role to play. At 365 that role is highlighted by 365 branded frozen pasta entrees and side dishes meal components that can be mix and matched into a meal for one, two or the entire family.
Made to order grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food offerings were a disappointment at best. 365 by Whole Foods was lacking the excitement of consumer interactive participation that comes with personalized, customized, fresh prepared food. They did offer some including whole pizzas, Hot Dogs, and Healthy Bowls.
What Whole Foods did do very well was focus on meals, meal components, portion, pricing, and speed of service. The small footprint quickens the pace of the shopping experience and that is in the minds-eye of the consumer ‘better for you’.
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