The words “healthy” and “organic” can mean different things depending on the retailer using the words. But to grocery retailer, Whole Foods, the words are part of the values that the company promotes to its consumers. Since its founding in 1980 in Austin, TX, Whole Foods established itself as a source for organic, healthy, ethically-sourced food products. And, for many years, the only place to find these products was at Whole Foods.
A lot has changed in the intervening years and now many grocery stores carry organic, natural, and local food products. Given the rise in competition, and the greater availability of organic foods, Whole Foods has shifted its message to tell a story about the company’s values and operations. The new campaign – “Values Matter” – seeks to link the company to a more ethical stance about food, sourcing, healthy eating, and transparency of actions. How important is it for companies to state their vision and values to stakeholders? And more importantly, will the statements increase consumer confidence and sales?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Review Whole Foods in brief. Company Web site: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/
- Show the video, “Values Matter”:
http://youtu.be/5DCow4J-pDE What is the key message from the video?
- Discuss competition: What are the direct competitors? Indirect competitors?
- Divide students into teams. Have each team compare Whole Foods with a competitive storey. What are the points of difference? What makes Whole Foods different from competition? What can other companies do to compete with Whole Foods?
- Discuss the target market for Whole Foods.
- Debrief the exercise.