Whole Foods losing in the supermarket shuffle? ~ Brand Mix

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Whole Foods losing in the supermarket shuffle?

If the changing shopping habits from one family living in Marin, CA were, in any way representative of families in general, Whole Foods would have cause to worry.

This table shows our response to the steep rise in grocery prices. Back in those happy and cheap 2006 days, half of our grocery trips were to either Whole Foods or an upscale grocer (Andronico's). Now, those two retailers account for just one of every ten trips--Whole Foods hanging on by a thread because, according to my wife, it has the best fish.

The winners are: Safeway and Trader Joe's--Safeway being the best option for staples (but see note below) and Trader Joe's providing the variety and food adventure that we used to get from Whole Foods but providing it much less expensively.

Over in the UK, grocers are starting to respond to rising prices by highlighting ways to shop affordably. Both Sainsbury's and M&S have launched signposting campaigns ("Feed your family for a fiver" and "Dine in for two for £10") to help customers stretch their budget.

This particular campaign wouldn't work for Whole Foods and it's never going to be the cheap choice. But if it wants to stay on the list of grocery destinations, it may have to figure pretty quick its own variation on this theme.

Note: Being in the far reaches of the Wal-Mart empire, our nearest store is over 30 miles away and not a viable option (especially with the price of gas). If it were closer, it would probably have taken some if not most of the Safeway visits.

The tide turns. Wal-Mart rises: Brand Mix
2) Why oil and shopping don't mix: The Store Blog

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