Competitive Advantages

Topics: Organic food, Organic certification, Organic farming Pages: 8 (1396 words) Published: June 15, 2014


Competitive Advantages of Whole Foods Market
Christina V. Bocock
Brandman University
BUSU 630

Introduction
“The organic industry has exploded in the past decade…” (Jalonick, 2013). With a 10 percent growth from the previous year and $35 billion in sales, the rise in concern by consumers for healthier lifestyles and environmental preservation has created an increased demand for organic and natural product. “The majority of organic sales (93 percent) take place through conventional and natural supermarkets and chains, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA)…the remaining 7 percent of U.S. organic food sales occur through farmers' markets, foodservice, and marketing channels other than retail stores” (USDA, 2014). With more than 17, 0000 certified organic businesses in the country, Whole Foods Market remains the leading retailer of natural and organic foods in the United States. In an already intensely competitive industry, increase demand by changing 1culture has led to a stronger implementation of organic products in conventional supermarkets. With Whole Foods Market primary supply being natural and organic products, will it continue to thrive as the largest retailer of natural and organic foods and hold its ranking without being taken out of the game by uprising organic products being implemented into major conventional supermarket chains? Analysis

Critical Customer
“To survive and prosper in today’s dynamic and demanding economy, every company needs to excel and prosper in attracting customers and keeping them” (Swink et al., 2011, p. 262). The 2critical customer is the 3customer that is the target of the company which is deemed as important to the future of the company’s success and an important component of 4customer management. Whole Foods Market (WFM) identifies the critical customer as the younger generation entering into a more health conscience and environmentally concerned era. Unlike competitors, WFM has a critical customer dependent on the natural and organic product which is the basis of their company. The culture of this critical customer not only is concerned with the processing of their food but also the effect that it has on the ecosystem. A key component relative to a competitive market is a company’s 5value proposition which Swink defines as, “a statement of what the firm offers the customer that is viewed as attractive to the customer and different from what is offered by its competitors” (Swink et. Al., 2011, p. 30). WFM’s value proposition can be taken from their mission statement; “Our company mission is to promote the vitality and well-being of all individuals by supplying the highest quality, most wholesome foods available. Since the purity of our food and the health of our bodies are directly related to the purity and health of our environment, our core mission is devoted to the promotion of organically grown foods, healthy eating, and the sustainability of our entire ecosystem.” (WFM, 2014). This is attractive to the consumer and differentiates WFM from the conventional supermarket by including 6quality and environmental concerns. Innovation & Flexibility

What innovations has Whole Foods Market implemented to gain ground on the competition? Whole Foods Market has been the leader in organic and environmental 7innovations since their opening in 1980 as America’s first natural and organic supermarket (WFM, 2014). 2001 - Introduces 1st 365 day national commodity-priced, all organic-product line. 2002 - The first retailer to introduce solar power as primary lighting source. 2003 - America’s 1st Certified National Organic Grocer.

2005 - First‐ever silver LEED‐certified supermarket.
2008 - Becomes the first U.S. supermarket chain to eliminate disposable plastic grocery bags. 2009 - First to be certified under the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes Program. “An operation’s ability to respond efficiently to changes in products, processes, and...

References: Jalonick, Mary. (2013). Rising Consumer Demands Aids Organic Industry.Retrieved from:http://news.yahoo.com/rising-consumer-demands-aids-organic-industry-sway-154102276.html?soc_src=copy
NRF. (2014). 2013 Top 100 Retailers. Retrieved from: http://www.stores.org/2013/Top-100-Retailers
Paul, M. W., Kemp, G., & Segal, R. (2013). Organic Foods: Understanding Organic Food Labels, Benefits, and Claim. Retrieved from: http://w9ww.helpguide.org/life/organic_foods_pesticides_gmo.htm
Swink, M., Melnyk, S. A., Cooper, M. B., & Hartley, J. L. (2011). Managing Operations Across the Supply Chain. New York, NY: McGraw Hill/Irwin.
USDA, Economic Research Service. (2014). Organic Agriculture. Retrieved from: http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/natural-resources-environment/organic-agriculture/organic-market-overview.aspx
Whole Foods Market IP.LP. (2014). Whole Foods Market Annual Report Form 10-K. Retrieved from: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/investor-relations/annual-reports.
WISErg. (2014). Whole Foods Market Chooses WISErg Harvester(TM) Technology to Reduce Food Scraps at Stores in Washington State. Retrieved from: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/whole-foods-market-chooses-wiserg-160000682.
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