The free market in action.
Whole Foods announced Wednesday that it will launch a new, low-priced grocery chain that carries organic and natural foods. It will be “cool, hip, and technology-oriented” and cater to millennials who are health conscious but cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods. The announcement of the new chain comes as increased demand for organic food is sweeping the nation.
Co-CEO Walter Robb said:
“This marketplace continues to grow and explode, and I think we think by creating a second growth vehicle for our company, we can broaden the accessibility to fresh, healthy foods.”
John Mackey, CEO, credits his company with the explosion of demand for cleaner, non-GMO foods:
“We’ve been so successful that we’ve actually bred a lot more competition, and everyone is jumping on the natural and organic food bandwagon, and that’s really, frankly, due to our success.”
Major companies from Pavilions to Target increasingly offer organic options. The Kroger brand, Simple Truth, approached nearly $1 billion in sales last year. The new Whole Foods-owned outlet will match the appeal of these lower priced options. Robb said it would attract not just millennials, but “anyone looking for high-quality fresh food at great prices.”
The new stores will open next year and more details about the enterprise will become available around Labor Day. The development reflects a monumental shift in how Americans view nutrition. Organic food sales in the United States jumped from $11 billion in 2004 to $27 billion in 2012.
Many recent incidents highlight this growing skepticism of toxic, synthetic foods. Consumer outrage forced Subway to remove
rubber from its bread (the rubber, found in yoga mats, is FDA-approved). Panera Bread just announced that it will remove many of its unhealthy ingredients. Chipotle recently revealed that it will use only non-GMO ingredients.
The response of these companies to increasing market demand shows that while the FDA is busy approving toxic chemicals, consumers are making their voices heard—and having their demands met.
As Mackey noted,
“You have to be willing to evolve with the marketplace…to serve your customers.”
With increased global distrust of companies like Monsanto and genetically modified food in general, it is likely this clean, organic trend will continue to grow exponentially—and become ever more accessible.
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