Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Whole Foods Confused or off the rails?

When was the last time any successful company CEO gave a public interview to a leading industry reporters and focused on the competition rather than the customer, and was winning in the marketplace? Last week, in the Wall Street Journal (8/5/09) it was reported by both Katy McLaughlin and Timothy W. Martin that John Mackey was more afraid of COSTCO than Trader Joe’s.

 He also said that his stores sold “a bunch of junk”, referring to food that was not good for you! Reportedly, he as been on a “health” kick for some time now. However he should admit that when you build a store with 60,000 Sq. ft. of space it takes a lot of stuff to fill it up and is some cases apparently Junk! If success leaves clues, the first might be how about a smaller store with less JUNK!

 Spending research money on how to keep the customer in the store longer, build “basket size” was the metric of the 60’s and 70’s that was important. The focus on now on the customer. Consumers number one complaint is how long it takes in the grocery store. Costco is an multi-channel adventure but takes a lot of time, Trader Joe’s customer friendly and private ah might they be utilizing a different metric?

Rather than speaking to reporters he should be asking his staff is: what is it that the consumer likes the best about grocery shopping? Which direction is the consumer moving within the food industry and are we moving with them?

Price is a determining factor however time and time again we have seen during this rescission that the consumer’s preference for “better for you” products and services win out over price! At Whole Foods one can clearly see the consumer likes the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared portable food offerings.

These offerings can be found in the booming Grocerant niche and carry higher margins at other companies around the country including Safeway’s Lifestyle stores and Kroger’s QFC? If it saves the consumer time, saves the consumer steps the halo of better for you is all inclusive to the consumer. If it is organic or low in fat wow and prepared TOGO an even bigger WOW; a HOME RUN! Yes, my friends the Grocerant niche is the Next Big Wave! What do you think Whole Foods should be focusing on?


Foodservice Solutions® specializes the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Fresh Prepared Food niche aka the Grocerant niche.  www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  

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