Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fresh Food Customer Frequency Drives Whole Foods

Industry analyst like to compare Whole Foods to Wegmans because they each have an embedded quality about their brand that helps them drive top line sales and bottom line profits while simultaneously driving new unit growth. The same analyst like to compare Sprouts Farmers Market to Whole Foods since they each focus on ‘better for you’ or ‘healthy’ fresh food and organic food.  Then there are those that compare Central Market and Publix to Whole Foods neither is Whole Foods and those analysts are simply wrong.

Like Wegmans:

Wegmans Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food continues to drive a quality halo around Wegmans brand extending the Wegmans retail food brand into a ‘lifestyle’ brand. Wegmans is more than fresh food, but that’s where it wants to be.  What it is not is Whole Foods. 

Like Central Market:

Central Market, one described by the Hartman Group  as a “three-dimensional immersion in food experiences that H-E-B’s Central Market provides never fails to amaze us—experiences that nearly always leave consumers in a zealous state, eager to cook.” The consumer has changed they are according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™  dynamic not static, they want to cook but don’t have the skill-set to cook the bold flavorful food they have become accustom.”

Maybe it just Texas that all the Central Markets are so large, but nationwide all research indicates that consumers simply don’t want to spend time to walk around, shop in, day-dream in a grocery store any longer. Whole Foods for the past three years continues to open new units all with a smaller footprint than before 2011. Central Market is no Whole Foods, as Whole Foods is going fresh, small and fast.

Like Sprouts Farmers Market:

Sprouts offers customers “mountains of fresh fruits and vegetables, barrels of wholesome grains, nuts and sweets, full-service deli, meat and seafood counters—complete with homemade burgers and sausages. Roam around our spacious aisles and you'll find fresh baked goods, eclectic beer and wine, gourmet cheese, sensibly-priced vitamins and supplements, and thousands of natural, organic and gluten-free groceries.” Sprouts is what Whole Foods was, Sprouts Farmers Market is positioned for yesterday’s customers today.  Whole Foods is repositioning successfully today for the customer of tomorrow. 

Like Publix:

Publix rumored to be interested in buying Whole Foods might be on to something because unlike Publix Whole Foods is not focusing on the yesterday’s middle market customer. Today Publix seemingly does not understand the growing bifurcated food marketplace. Unlike Whole Foods, Publix is extraordinarily inconsistent in fresh prepared foodservice store to store region to region. Whole Foods is an example of consistency in quality, content and context of its fresh food offerings.

Whole Foods Fresh Food Conundrum:

If Whole Foods were to have a fresh food conundrum it would be what to call its new positioning.  While many in the industry may call it ‘fresh food with style’ others ‘better for you Food Fast’.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ says that “Whole Foods is developing fresh prepared food offerings with context, including appealing sight, sounds, and smells (flavors) of the community they are located in. They are doing that with the knowledge and a focus of consumer inclusion all the while the undercurrents of grocery industry bifurcation continue to grow causing customer migration to new formats. Whole Foods is becoming one of the new formats with customer relevance. “

There is no conundrum for Whole Foods. The mandate from customers is more Fresh Prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food on that Whole Foods delivers. Increasing the quality and quantity non-organic fresh local fruit and produce is not only consumer inclusive, sustainable; it is the right thing to do while economic disequilibrium continues to grow. Whole Foods is positioning Fresh Food as ‘Better for You’ food and that is what today’s consumer will want Tomorrow.
Foodservice Solutions® specializes the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Fresh Prepared Food niche aka the Grocerant niche.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy

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