Whole Foods Market Swot Analysis

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DeVry University

Tracy Morgan

Principals of Management 303

Instructor’s Name: Michelle Dawes Birt

Assignment Issue Date: January 2, 2011

Assignment Due Date: January 23, 2011

Originally, Whole Foods Market (WFM) was founded in Austin, Texas, in 1980 with a staff of 19 people. As soon as the store opened, it was an immediate success and there were less than half a dozen natural food supermarkets in the United States. From 1980 to present day, the company has grown primarily through various mergers and acquisitions, which have included their signature brand coffee Allegro and Wild Oats Markets. Currently, they have 299 stores, 18 more than their 2009 figures. (Whole Foods Market, 2010)

WFM’s mission statement or motto is “Whole Foods – Whole People – Whole Planet.”


WFM has two exceptional strengths that can be derived from their mission statement. First, we will consider the value derived the company’s name,

Whole Foods — We search for the highest quality, least processed, most flavorful and natural foods possible because we believe that food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives — is the best tasting and most nutritious food there is. (Whole Foods.com, 2011)

This fundamental principle sets WFM apart from other grocery store chains that stock their shelves with food items that seem to be ever increasingly dangerous to consumers’ health. In contrast, the products found at Whole Foods Market are increasing in demand according to a survey sponsored by the Organic Trade Association, which said, Despite a sluggish economy, U.S. parents added more organic food to their grocery carts in 2010 compared to the year before…The survey found that 41 percent of U.S. parents are buying more organic foods today, that’s up significantly from last year’s number; in 2009, 31 percent reported organic purchases, according to the joint study named the “U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes & Beliefs 2010.” (Duffy, 2010)

WFM’s strength in this arena is documented as far back as 2002, when Time Magazine published,

Few grocery chains are as clever as Whole Foods Markets at enticing shoppers to gorge on fancy fare. With $2.3 billion in revenue and a 20% profit surge last year, Whole Foods trounced its rivals in the conventional-supermarket business; most of them muddled through with 1% to 2% sales growth. Whole Foods, though, doesn't sell just groceries. It offers something more ethereal: a feeling of healthy chic that pervades its stores and products and rubs off on customers. (Fonda & Thomas/Austin, 2002)

In addition to these glowing reviews, Whole Foods Markets has recently been working with Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a nonprofit group whose mission is to create economic partnerships with the poor in developing-world communities that supply products to WFM stores. Together, WFM and GAP are developing a new rating system for various animal products that will only be found in WFM enterprises. Per the Chicago Tribune,

Its (WFM) six-step approach establishes baseline standards for all meat sold in the store, while offering producers an opportunity to achieve higher ratings as their animal welfare standards improve based on the program's benchmarks. (Monica Eng, 2010)

The new system will provide ratings for all chicken, beef and pork sold at WFM stores, which totally sets them apart from other meat markets and grocery stores.

The second organizational value to be considered is Whole Foods Market’s claim to be helping the Whole Planet when it states,

We are committed to helping take care of the world around us, and our active support of organic farming and sustainable agriculture helps protect our planet. And while we assist our global neighbors through our Whole Planet Foundation’s...
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