Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2012 - (Page 11)

CATEGORY INSIGHT Organic Foods Many consumers will pay more for organic foods that the products represent, support and product can be worth the extra cost because of the commitment and values endorse. To these shoppers, a higher-priced because of the company’s values. B uying organic food is about more than just the food – it’s about values and value, emphasized Chris Taylor, executive coordinator for the global data team at Whole Foods Market Inc., Austin, Texas. This is especially true for young consumers labeled Millennials, Taylor told members of the International Council of Shopping Centers at the 2012 Research Connections conference in Chicago in October. “Millennials are our future and are more heavily invested in social issues,” Taylor told conference attendees. “Social media is a huge platform for us.” One-third of Whole Foods customers shop at the chain because of its commitment to the environment, ending poverty and promoting animal compassion and sustainable seafood, she said. Their level of purchases does not change regardless of their personal finances. Additionally, one-fifth of her company’s customers are committed to organic food, of which she maintained her company’s stores have the largest selection. Consequently, the organic and natural foods grocery store chain does not invest heavily in television advertising. Besides social media, the company’s main media exposure is as an underwriter of National Public Radio, she said. Taylor said that despite the company’s well-known nickname of “Whole Paycheck – I hate that – we know price has The typical Whole Foods customer is a younger, higher-income male. been a concern, especially over the last 10 years and the recession. While customers are committed to values, we have not been able to ignore price. Value has been important to Whole Foods customers, but they are willing to pay a higher price for quality.” Although the demographics of an area are important when locating new stores, the educational level of the people in an area is the No. 1 factor in store location, Taylor emphasized. The more educated are the people around the neighborhood of a Whole Foods store, the more likely it is to succeed, she insisted. Of course, higher income is an outgrowth of education, she conceded. Unlike other grocery chains, the typical Whole Foods customer is not female – he is a younger, ethnically diverse, educated male of higher than average income. Taylor attributed this to the store’s heavy concentration on prepared foods, especially lunch and dinner items, some of which fall into the category of grab-and-go. “We skew heavily toward meal events, and that shopper is male,” she reported. Approximately 20 percent of these shoppers are termed experiential and consider Whole Foods a “cool place to shop” and have “fascinating, interesting and smaller” baskets of purchases that skew heavily toward craft beers. Surprisingly, of those earning less than $35,000 or more than $100,000 annually, the amount of purchases of organic products showed no difference. O November/December 2012 retail merchandiser 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2012

Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2012
Sports Licensing Show
Wine & Food Festival
Brand Licensing Europe
Category Insight
Cover Story
Affinity Consultants
United States Olympic Committee
Pacific Cycle Inc.
Foot Locker Inc.
Nationwide Vision
Belle Foods
Campioni Enterprises
Gilligan Oil
Hickman’s Iga
Liquor Stores N.A.
Ken’s Superfair Foods and Food Fair
Navy Exchange Service Command
New & Notable

Retail Merchandiser - November/December 2012