Whole Foods Market is a public company, which owns and operates natural and organic
food supermarkets in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They currently operate over 270 stores, which are split into eleven regions. The company, which was founded in 1978, employs about 54,000 people and is headquartered in Austin, Texas (Yahoo Finance)(Google Finance)(WholeFoodsMarket.com).
Whole Foods Market's stores are targeted at consumers who are health and environmentally conscious and their main competitors are stores like The Fresh Market and Trader. Joe's as well as many local natural food supermarkets and farmer's markets. However, they also face
Competition from more traditional grocery chains such as Safeway, Kroger, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Albertson's (part of SUPERVALU), Wal-Mart, and Ingles. Whole Foods Market seems to be the only company in the organic/natural foods niche that is a public company. nearly one-third of the U.S. population has recently purchased an organically grown food product, and sales are expected to more than double in the next four years-making organic one of the hottest growth trends in the food industry today. Organic foods set the standard for top quality freshness, texture, flavor and variety. These foods are produced without the standard array of potentially harmful, environmentally long-lasting agricultural chemicals commonly used on conventional food products since the 1950s. According to researchers at The Hartman Group, the most frequently purchased organic products are vegetables (70% of organic buyers have purchased in last three months), followed by fruit (68%) and cereal/grains (61%). New purchasers of organic products usually start by putting produce, dairy items and baby food in their cart. Consumers who buy organic products cite health/nutrition, taste and food safety as the top motivators for their purchase. The availability of organic produce tends to indicate that a particular fruit or vegetable is...