Whole Foods Markets has grown from a small local store in Austin, Texas, to the largest retail chain of natural and organic foods in the United States. Whole Foods has been leading the natural and organic foods movement across the United States, working to gain acceptance among the growing number of consumers interested in eating healthier foods. The company has built a reputation for being selective in the products sold and only providing its customers with the highest quality foods available.
The mission of the company is to advance the cause of long term sustainable agriculture practices while promoting a cleaner environment. Thus, explaining the company motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet. ” Whole Foods thrives on promoting an interactive store and good corporate culture among all team members. Having a sense of collective fate integrated throughout the company, Whole Foods has worked to make a positive work environment where team members can build a rewarding career, reaching their highest potential.
Whole Foods Essay Example
Through this strong corporate culture they have attained Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, for 1 consecutive years from 1998 to 2008. John Mackey, founder and CEO, states that the company’s vision is, “To become an international brand synonymous not only for natural and organic foods but also for being the best food retailer in every community where Whole Foods stores were located. ” Managers at Whole Foods, strive to create a pleasurable shopping and eating experience for its customers, promoting an interactive store atmosphere where community can interact, educate, and grow.
In this report I will examine and study Whole Foods Market and its effectiveness in the market. Along the way I will be performing an environmental analysis, defining the company’s strategic direction and how it could be improved, giving recommendations to find the ideal strategy for each level of the business, and implementing a plan to address these recommendations. After fully examining the internal and external environments at Whole Foods Market, I have identified the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that have shaped Whole Foods since 1980. believe that Whole Foods has several important strengths that have enabled the company to succeed in gaining market power within the grocery industry. Being a differentiated establishment from its competitors, Whole Foods, provides its customers a superior shopping experience like no other, making them competitively valuable. Whole Foods has created an ideal corporate culture among all employees, adding to the company image of having happy employees and making happy customers. Growth within the Natural Foods market has created many opportunities for Whole Foods to gain the majority market share.
The 2002 USDA labeling standards made customers more educated in the merit of various organic products, causing consumers to purchase more truly organic conventional supermarkets. Becoming the first national “Certified Organic” grocer by Quality Assurance International, gave Whole Foods a rock solid selling point for its products. As more and more consumers became educated on the importance of healthier foods Whole Foods had an increase in sales of about 20 percent annually. After struggling to stock their shelves with organic beef and chicken, Whole Foods, launched their own private-label brand of organic foods.
Being only one of two companies to integrate backwards giving them a slight advantage over the competition. Just as the opportunities have grown for the company since 1990 so ave the threats from its competitors as natural and organic foods have grown into popular demand. Being a competitive market, conventional supermarkets aggressively responded to the increase in demand for natural and organic foods by offering a special “Natural and Organic Foods” section to satisfy their customers.
Since Whole Foods only provided the best quality of natural and organic foods their higher prices created barriers for many consumers wanting to try organically grown foods. Just as the USDA labeling standards created opportunity for the company it created threats as well. Whole Foods is a socially active company that works to mprove the communities in which they operate. They work to educate the community about key issues that could affect their health and well being through in- store brochures, presentations to groups, and postings on the company website.
Aside from this, the company demonstrates its social commitment through donations, promoting natural and environmentally sound farming practices, and food donations to third world countries, Just to name a few. Being a structurally sound company with distinct mission, vision, and values, it’s difficult to argue that Whole Foods isn’t on the right track to success. In my opinion, I hink that Whole Foods has a great mission to provide its customer with the highest quality of natural and organic foods, but I think that they should attempt to work closer with their regional and national suppliers to drive down prices.
I could redefine their mission to, providing customers with the highest quality of natural and organic foods at the lowest price possible. Similarly the vision of Whole Foods is important with the emphasis on being the best in the grocery industry, but I feel that the need to incorporate the importance of gaining majority stake within the industry so they can gain volume and purchasing power with suppliers. I feel that if Whole Foods could gain the cost-based advantage, backed by their existing quality, they would be able to reach a wider consumer base.
The core values at Whole Foods are the root of the establishment, supporting the health, well-being, and healing of both people and the planet. If I could add anything to this I would incorporate the emphasis of making the community better for everyone. I feel that this is an important selling point, valued by many, and it should be stated in the values of Whole Foods. After analyzing Whole Foods Market’s different levels of strategy I have come up ith some recommendations and strategic moves to achieve complete sustainably for Whole Foods Market.
There were three levels of strategy in which I searched for improvement, the corporate level, business level, and international level. Currently at the corporate level, Whole Foods is practicing a vertical integration strategy which company in the hands of all its team members, creating an active and fun relationship among all employees. I completely agree with the use of this strategy and feel it is the best option for Whole Foods. At the business level, Whole Foods has had a differentiation-based advantage over the competition.
I feel that if Whole Foods obtains market share and creates purchasing power over its suppliers it will have the ability to offer more reasonable prices on their products. Whole Foods may not have the ability to have low cost advantage, due to its high quality and the competitiveness of the market, but I think that they could achieve a better price value over its competitors. Internationally the company has taken a global strategy through its variety of international locations. To improve and grow internationally I would recommend constant research to locate potential foreign markets.
I have identified a couple strategic moves that Whole Foods could attempt to obtain a greater market share and reach out to larger numbers of customers. My first idea was for Whole Foods to establish smaller store locations in smaller communities and particular neighborhoods in metropolitan areas. I feel as though the community service and social activism practiced by Whole Foods Market would be something of value to this sector of the market. Another strategic move, one which I already mentioned, was for Whole Foods to obtain purchasing power over its supplier’s enabling the company to ffer a better value to its customers.
To implement these recommendations I have conducted a functional strategy audit and determined how each functional area should address these recommendations. To gain a price value advantage the sales team needs to work closer with regional and national suppliers to negotiate quantity discounts and develop a closer relationship with these suppliers. Human resources needs to work to maintain optimum performance among all team members through various performance controls, promoting strong leadership and culture, already in place at Whole Foods Market.
The customer service department should conduct performance measures to ensure best practices and improvement between team members and customers. The international sales team and lor research and development needs to be constantly researching potential foreign markets and suppliers. More specifically market research and development needs to analyze the “smaller communities venture” to assess the potential within that sector of the market and determine its significance. To conclude this study I will recap all steps taken to assess and improve business practices at Whole Foods Market.
First I conducted an environmental analysis, identifying Whole Food’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Next I reviewed the businesses mission, vision, and values while giving my opinion of what could be improved. The third step I took was to make recommendations to the strategy at the different levels of the business. Finally I devised a plan of implementation and assigned measures to be taking by different functional groups. Through this study I believe that Whole Foods Market is an overall structurally sound company which when analyzed closely has room for growth and improvement.