Everyone knows that the great things about Whole Foods (huge selection, organic produce, hard-to-find ingredients) come with a big price tag. Literally. Whole Foods has often been dubbed “Whole Paycheck,” and it’s no surprise that many people can’t afford to shop there, even if it’s not a full grocery trip. That’s why the grocery store is working to lower its prices and appeal to more shoppers.
Things are changing over at Whole Foods headquarters, largely thanks to investors who want to turn the grocery store around. They want to change the store’s image by tackling the relatively exorbitant prices that currently accompany grocery shopping at Whole Foods.
According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, Whole Foods shareholders want to cut costs by making the store function in ways that are more similar to a big-box grocery store. This means reducing the number of items offered and swapping out local distributors for national vendors that sell less expensive products.
But this might not go over well with some customers and other Whole Foods stakeholders because these changes go against one of Whole Foods’ core values: working with local suppliers. The Wall Street Journal article even cites a survey that showed that 25 percent of Whole Foods shoppers went there specifically to buy items they couldn’t get from another grocery store.
Whole Foods so-founder and CEO John Mackey knows any changes to the brand will need to be delicate to avoid alienating current shoppers while still attracting new ones.
“Our culture is still very unique,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “What Whole Foods needs to do is to take the best ideas of the traditional supermarket industry and integrate them into our company.”
It’s quite likely that many people would be more interested in shopping at Whole Foods if the prices weren’t so high, but at what cost to the core values that make the company unique in a crowded marketplace? Only time will tell.