Saturday, August 4, 2012

Organic Food's Popularity Drives Whole Foods' Growth

Organic and natural foods are increasingly popular among consumers, and Whole Foods is growing as a result, Statesman.com reports.  While traditional grocers like Krogers and Safeway are closing stores, Whole Foods is opening new outlets all over the country, partially due to an estimated 15 percent of the public that are loyal to organic and natural foods.

The organic foods industry saw a 9.5 percent growth in the US in 2011 and totaled $31.5 billion, and Whole Foods has become the name synonymous with organic groceries.  Since 2007, Whole Foods has added 53 stores, including two in the Austin area in the third quarter alone.  Whole Foods has capitalized on the public's focus on healthy eating to the tune of $1.5 billion in cash on hand.  In July, Whole Foods's third quarter profit was $116.8 million, an increase of 32 percent over a year ago.

Whole Foods' officials hope to expand to 1,000 stores, but they are planning on growing slowly. 
2012 will see the addition of 25 new stores, they hope to add 28-32 next year and 33 to 38 in 2014.  They are also expanding to smaller markets where previously no one had ever heard of the brand, rather than the wealthier urban customer that had been Whole Foods' bread and butter.

Other organic grocers such as The Fresh Market, a chain out of North Carolina, added 39 stores since 2007 and has plans for more.  HEB is also poised to compete with Whole Foods, both with their Central Market stores and by adding more natural and organic stock to their regular stores.

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