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Whole Foods Market: A Brand Analysis


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In December I was asked to pull together a brand and design presentation on a brand of my choice. I went with one of my favorites: Whole Foods Market.

The presentation includes brand and market background information, an analysis of the brand, its market audience and reach, as well as potential solutions for its growth and expansion. Enjoy!

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Whole Foods Market: A Brand Analysis

  1. 1. 21st December, 2011WHOLE FOODS MARKET®: A BRAND ANALYSIS Sebastian May
  2. 2. WHAT’S ON OUR MENU TODAY? Some background: quick facts, geography and more Experiencing Whole Foods Market:  What does it provide?  How does it do it?  How does it make us feel? The Whole Foods Market brand proposition  Core mission and values  7 promises and tactics Brand audience and customers  Who are they?  Who could they be? Whole foods market analysis Competitor analysis Whole Foods Market brand potential  A quick evaluation  Food for thought  Future brand development
  4. 4. QUICK FACTS Founded in 1980 by John Mackey in Austin, Texas Store reach: US, Canada and UK, 310 stores and employs around 62,000 staff Current value US$9.006B and NASDAQ and NASDAQ- 100 traded1 Entered UK market in 2004 by buying 7 Fresh and Wild stores 1st European outlet opened in Kensington in 2007 Emphasis on highest quality perishable foods (fresh produce)
  5. 5. WHOLE FOODS MARKET GEOGRAPHY 6 stores in Canada Around300 stores across 1 store in the US ... Glasgow…including 4 stores 5 stores inin Hawaii London
  6. 6. THE WHOLE FOODS “PYRAMID”Strong history of acquisitions and expansion. (Somewhatlimited growth in Europe due to recession and limited revenue.)17 Whole Foods Companies: Whole Foods Market Whole Food Company Wellspring Grocery Bread & Circus Mrs. Goochs Fresh Fields Bread of Life  Product portfolio includes produce, seafood, grocery, Amrion meat and poultry, dietary and nutritional supplements, Merchant of Vino vitamins, specialty (beer, wine and cheese), body care Allegro Coffee products, floral and household products and pet products, and catering of prepared foods. (e-commerce subsidiary)  11 geographical divisions with 1 president each, handling Natures Heartland own store network and local distribution channels - Food for Thought decentralized, self-directed stores and teams Harrys Farmers Market  Sub-brands/products: Select Fish  365 Everyday Value® products Fresh & Wild  Whole Foods Market brand Wild Oats© Markets  Whole Trade
  7. 7. THE MORE YOU KNOW Ranked among the most socially responsible businesses and placed third on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‟s list of Top 25 Green Power Partners1 Whole Foods Market commits to a policy of donating at least five percent of its annual net profits to charitable causes. Individual stores also hold 5% Days approximately four times a year, during which they donate 5% of that days net sales to a local or regional non-profit or educational organisation. In 2005, the company created two foundations designed to effect solutions to global problems. The Animal Compassion Foundation2 strives to improve the quality of life for farm animals and the Whole Planet Foundation3 works to combat poverty in rural communities around the world through microlending.
  9. 9. WHAT’S THE WHOLE FOODS DEAL? High quality standards, foods, sourcing Ethical behaviour, e.g. fair-trade, organic, locally sourced food Product choice Premium services, e.g. cooking classes Premium information, e.g. labels, recipes
  10. 10. FOOD AS THEATRE: SETTING THE SCENE IWhole Foods Market emotionalises theshopping experience through: Shop architecture: an open-air, rural market and bright scenery. Result: Shopping atmosphere is friendly, accessible, welcoming Product range: „American style‟ the bigger the better. Result: Customers feel valued and spoiled Product display: flawless, colourful, spacious arrangements Result: Premium/elite shopping experience1 Premium pricing. Result: feeling of premium quality, services and benefits
  11. 11. FOOD AS THEATRE: SETTING THE SCENE II Customer services: a direct, „no fuss‟ approach, yet knowledgeable. Result: Customer trust in services, company and brand In-store information, e.g. labels, signage, product information. Result: Ease of use makes customer feel respected, like he is in complete control and is valued External information, e.g. website, social media, with consistent delivery of valuable information, e.g. company ethos, product information, always up to date and current. Result: Customers feel current, and up to date and informed about their food/shopping/consumption choices.
  12. 12. BUT WHY DOES IT FEEL SO GOOD?The consumer feels that: Whole Foods Market is an honest, transparent and approachable brand A trusted retail environment Premium and first-class shopping experience It is the supermarket he wants to shop in, it becomes a logical choice/necessityThe final result: Establishes brand loyalty between customer and brand Continuous brand interaction and wanted brand proximity Whole Foods Market is the food industry and market leader in organic, ethical and natural foods with a clear service offering: premium quality groceries and fresh produce Knowledge-leader and forward thinking brand with a future
  14. 14. BRAND PROPOSITION AND VALUES: CORE MISSION AND VALUES “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet” A WHOLE-istic approach and the “Declaration of Interdependence”1Environment Ethicaland Health and business Socialsustainability nutrition3 development development52 and growth4
  15. 15. BRAND PROMISE(S) AND TACTICS1) Preserving local communities andpartnerships: by promoting local traders andproducers• For example: Local Producer Loan • For example: Interactive digital map Program: providing local producers with up of local producers throughout the to $10 million in low-interest loans ($3 US. million so far).
  16. 16. BRAND PROMISE(S) AND TACTICS2) Healthy and high quality foods: by creating aquality standard focused on ingredients, freshness,taste, nutritive value, safety and/or appearance;foods unadulterated by artificial additives,sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives13) Premium customer experience and services:through friendly customer service and premiumservices such as catering, cooking classes, freeallergen tours, etc., product information (labels,seasonal information, recipes, on and offline)
  17. 17. BRAND PROMISE(S) AND TACTICS4) Ethical foods retail and promotion: through strict sales policies,e.g. no meat or milk from cloned animals, many USDA-certifiedorganic foods, no foie gras or battery caged hen eggs, many fare-trade productsFor example the Whole Trade®Guarantee Launched in 2007 to work with TransFair USA and the Rainforest Alliance to ensure transparency and integrity of program1 A Commitment to Ethical Trade, the Environment and Quality Products, which must: • meet high quality standards • provide more money to producers • ensure better wages and working conditions for workers • use sound environmental practices
  18. 18. BRAND PROMISE(S) AND TACTICS5) High environment and sustainability standards: byinvesting in environmental and sustainabilityprograms, e.g. supporting sustainable agriculture,reducing waste and consumption of non-renewableresources1236) Staff excellence and happiness: through highemployee benefits package and salary caps47) Promoting stakeholder health and development:through educational information and customer advice
  19. 19. CONCLUSIONS Does what it says on the tin Holistic and integrated/interdepend ent approach and structure A national yet local appeal that makes it competitive
  21. 21. BRAND AUDIENCE AND CUSTOMERS "Id definitely come here for a pint after work," -Paul Whiteside, sipping a £3 pint of Black Dog
  22. 22. BRAND AUDIENCE AND CUSTOMERSWho are they? Multicultural and diverse audience Key customers = Working parents1 between 30 and 50 (more women)4 Educated to degree level Professionals with mid- to high-level incomes Health- and fitness-conscious City, and suburbanWhat are they concerned with? Healthy foods for themselves and their children2 Environment and sustainability issuesWhat are they looking for? Premium service and well-rounded shopping experience A one-stop-shop to suit their busy lifestyles
  23. 23. DEVELOPING (NEW) AUDIENCESIt’s not easy being green … “The picture is no longer black or white; it is a colorfulmosaic where organic and/or natural intersects and overlapswith attributes such as local, fresh, sustainable, safe, green,quality, lack of additives and many more.”1 As organic market develops it becomes more difficult topigeonhole consumers2 Consumer attitudes to organic foods are complex, oftenlinking food to health, the environment, ethics and identity.Location of production plays a key role in promoting trust.Room to grow… “Consumers also believe that organic foods are morenutritious than conventional foods and are prepared to payhigher prices for them.”3 We could therefore look at potential customers who are:  Professionals with large expendable incomes and purchasing power  Single, more independent customers with interest in healthy lifestyle, beauty products and personal care  Audiences with interest in latest trends, product developments  For example: LGBT market segment or “single girl” customer (slightly younger audience)
  25. 25. A LOOK AT THE MARKETS I Slump in markets and less consumer spending1 Sales of organic food and drink slumped by 10% to £1.53bn last year as shoppers opted for cheaper alternatives, according to a new report.2
  26. 26. A LOOK AT THE MARKETS II Long-running consumer trends of health, well-being, and ethical consumer spending 10% sales growth of premium food products per year1 50% increase in organic market between „07 and ‟111 100% increase in fairtrade market between „07 and ‟111 U.S. families said their largest increases in spending in the past year were for organic products with preference to cut other areas of spending.2 The recession has prompted consumers of specialty foods to cook more often at home and to plan more meals ahead of time.
  28. 28. HEALTHY COMPETITION? Over the top and over here: Disney World of food opens first UK store: US chain takes on supermarkets in battle for £1bn organic market (Guardian, 7th June 2007)1
  29. 29. HEALTHY COMPETITION? Local businesses: pharmacies, coffee shops, butchers, small restaurants, cafes, bars and (farmers) markets Premium supermarkets: Waitrose, Marks and Spencer. Sainsbury‟s and Tesco‟s (own brand and organic brands) Health stores, e.g. Holland and Barrett Value retailers, e.g. The Co- operative A recent survey conducted by the Food Marketing Institute (2004) showed that only 11% of organic shoppers polled bought organics at a natural-food supermarket, while 57% bought at mainstream grocery stores and discount stores.
  30. 30. HIGH STREET PRICE COMPARISONSmall box of organic Small packet of dried apple Organic peanut butterraspberries slices Whole Foods: £4.99 perWhole Foods: £3 Whole Foods: £1.99 kilogrammeWaitrose: £2.99 M&S: pound;1.99 Waitrose: 89p for a 454g jarTesco: £2.49 Tesco: £1.65 Tesco: £1.29 for 227g jarMarmite Large bottle of carbonated Organic coffee beansWhole Foods: £3.29 water Whole Foods KensingtonWaitrose: £2.18 Whole Foods: Blue Keld blend: £3.99 per 250gTesco: £2.18 carbonated water: £3.49 Waitrose: £2.29 per 227g Waitrose: Perrier carbonated Tesco: £1.89 per 100g water: 79p Tesco: Tynant carbonated water: £1.29Bar of Green & Blacks Whole organic mango Loaf of organic breadchocolate Whole Foods: 99p Whole Foods: £1.39Whole Foods: £2.99 per 150g Waitrose: £1.69 Waitrose: £1.15Waitrose: £1.55 per 200g Tesco: £1.29 Tesco: 69pTesco: £1.98 per 150g
  32. 32. SWOT EVALUATION Helpful HarmfulInternal STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES • Established internationally • Overly high premium prices • National appeal/following with $9B organic/health • Self-contained niche market set-up (organics) food supermarket industry leadership • Structural problems, very decentralised • 25 years of double-digit revenue growth • No government subsidies for organic foods (but • Easy acquisition of other/similar stores available for other sectors) • Strong network of suppliers • Underdeveloped supply chain for organic foods • Good access to target market (locations) • Higher supplier costs for organic and fair-trade • Less pressure to be efficient due to high prices prices • Larger offers than other stores • Food security, e.g. E. coli outbreak • A known brand name • Inconsistent/ dated brand imageExterna OPPORTUNITIES THREATSl • Existing yet limited awareness of benefits of • Recession and weak economies organic foods: Able to clear misconceptions and • Demand for food will not increase educate on: food pricing, importance of healthy, • Direct competition from other supermarkets, etc. organic and free-trade foods with similar offering, e.g. Sainsbury‟s SO organic • Demand for value pricing range and market share advantage of • Give back to consumers who shop regularly and traditional/existing retailers in unexplored markets develop new customers • Changes in government regulation on organic foods • Increase in-store events, and develop external • Consumer association and NGO backlash about events specific products/activities • Continue to promote and build „organic food‟ • Issues such as food supply, miles and advertising brand identity honesty are pushed to the forefront • Increase outreach abroad, e.g. across Europe, via other retailers
  33. 33. MOVING FORWARD: FOOD FOR THOUGHT Energizing the brand image
  34. 34. MOVING FORWARD Coalition building and targeted stakeholder education  Celebrity campaign that combines education angle with national audience outreach. For example, collaborate with famous chef Anthony Worral-Thompson and childrens/countryside charities or organic produce federations to teach target audience about healthy lifestyles and nutrition.
  35. 35. MOVING FORWARD: FOOD FOR THOUGHT Develop marketing and sales focus Seasonal sales and frequent customer reward scheme, e.g. a loyalty card with reward points for purchasing eco- friendly products Special events, such as „ladies‟ evenings‟ or family days
  36. 36. MOVING FORWARD: FOOD FOR THOUGHT Develop store reach and interconnectivity amongst regions  Internal/external best-practice events and trade fairs Widen physical outreach  Develop further branches across Europe and emerging markets  Develop additional sub-brands beyond 365 Everyday Value®, e.g. baby food brands, pet food brands, healthcare, beauty and technology products  Collaborate with international retailers to introduce Whole Foods products in competitors stores
  37. 37. FUTURE BRAND DEVELOPMENT Increase visibility of brand image and make it the one and only brand for organic/natural foods Collaboration and third party endorsement  Increase recognition by collaborating with other influential stakeholders, organisations and celebrities; increasing internal and external visibility Differentiate and diversify role of the brand and implement structural portfolio changes  Products, e.g. Baby Whole Foods  Sectors, e.g. Whole Foods Education Internationalise brand through expansion abroad
  38. 38. QUESTIONS?
  39. 39. THANK YOU
  40. 40. SOURCES USED IMAP Global Food and Beverage Industry Report 2008: United States Security and Exchange Commission: Wikinvest, „Historical Performance on Whole Foods Market‟: Whole Foods Market, Wikipedia: Whome Foods Market website: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Green Partners: Animal Compassion Foundation: Whole Planet Foundation: Grist, Independent Green News: Whole Foods Market Declaration of Interdependence: Whole Foods Market food standards: Local Producer Loan Program: to make it easier for producers to grow their businesses and bring more local products to market: and Whole Foods Market Whole Trade Guarantee: Marine Stewardship Council: Money CNN: Choices Magazine: Hartman-Group: Food consumption trends and drivers, John Kearney: consumption-trends.pdf GfK – Growth for Knowledge: National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. ,‟Today‟s Specialty Food Consumer 2009‟: Gavin Rothwell, Senior Business Analyst at IGD – Whole Foods Market Puts UK into Organic Overdrive – Natural Choices: The Guardian: