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Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jeff Weinstein writes about the evolution of the supermarket industry over the past few years, and comes to the conclusion that Whole Foods may be the company that best reflects where the food retailing experience is going.

“The best way to measure a trend is to see what works in the marketplace, and Whole Foods is the market that's working for us now,” he writes. “By consolidating three seemingly different needs, this international chain has managed both to pique and perpetuate the appetite it is made to satisfy.”

Weinstein identifies these three elements as 1) catering to the health and well-being of the customer; 2) creating a shopping experience that is convenient, and 3) forming an approach to food shopping that celebrates cooking and eating.

And, he says, the best Whole Foods stores become something else: community meccas that become “known in singles circles, both straight and gay, as one of the hottest pickup spots in the city - adding a little something extra to the idea of ‘takeout’.”
KC's View:
Weinstein gets it absolutely right.

While he doesn’t hammer home another point, we will. He writes that Whole Foods “has managed both to pique and perpetuate the appetite it is made to satisfy.”

Appetite. What a terrific word to apply to what a food store is supposed to do. Create appetites. Satisfy appetites. Expand appetites.


Think about the food stores that do this, and the ones that do not.

Think about the food stores where, the moment you walk in the door, you get hungry – it may be the smell of fresh bread, or the look of glistening produce, or the sizzle of something cooking on a grill somewhere. Or maybe it is just packaged goods laid out in such a way that it says to the consumer, “This is new, this is fun, this is exciting.”

As opposed to, ”This is cheap, this is easy.”

Sure, there’s a role for cheap and easy. But increasingly, that role will be played by just a few chains because of advantages of size and logistics. Which leaves the other roles in this unfolding drama – and there are many of them – to be played in other ways and in other styles that will create and satisfy different consumer appetites.


What a great word.