So there is this part of me that wishes I could do all my shopping at Whole Foods. Yes, the closest store is an hour away and the prices are well, insane, but the lure of the wide variety of organic food and healthy options is appealing. I know my local Jewel carries some organic stuff (but do I really want organic oreos???) and a few more varieties of fruits and veggies (don't even ask how long it took the check out guy to actually believe that the bunch of rainbow swiss chard I brought up was actually for sell at his store...).
So I was interested when I came across this article about the decline of Whole Foods' stock
. Apparently the trend for big box retailers to sale some organic items (Walmart)is hurting the specialty stores like Whole Foods. As food that is healthy, environmentally friendly, and interesting becomes more mainstream other stores are catching on and Whole Foods declines. If I can pay $5 for a half gallon of organic milk at Whole Foods, $4.25 at Jewel and $3.79 at Walmart (and even less at Trader Joes, but that's another story) - I'm going to go for the same product at the lower cost.
So if Whole Foods is to survive perhaps they need to create a new specialty market. They are losing the vegans, health nuts, and foodies to the cheaper stores, so what if they try to cater to the ethically minded. If they decided to carry "just food" - food that has been fairly traded, where the workers were paid decent wages and were given respectful, humane environments to work in - they would seriously corner the market. (and maybe being ethical might just begin to catch on as well - imagine that). But it would take a Whole Foods that caters to those who are predisposed to think of food as more than just food to start the trends. Down the road (in true freaknomics fashion) the masses might then copy the elite. Wouldn't it me amazing if the rich and intellectual were setting the good moral trends for our society?
I like Whole Foods, I wish I could shop there. Who knows what path they will take, but at least I gave my oh so significant suggestion.
Labels: Social Justice