business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB editorial partner The Hartman Group has a good piece on its Hartbeat blog, in which it looks at the increased demand for fresh, healthy food, and how evolving retail competition - such as Walmart and Target expanding their focus on organics, and retailers like Sprouts emerging as legitimate players in a segment formerly dominated by Whole Foods - will both respond to and drive these shifting trends.

The piece looks at the consumer and cultural perspectives, and is worth reading if one wants to get a sense of the broader picture. You can check it out here.
KC's View:
This is especially interesting right now because Whole Foods this week announced lower than expected quarterly revenue and profits for the third time in recent months, and projected weaker than expected numbers for the rest of the year. And there is growing skepticism among analysts about its plan to have as many as 1,200 stores, up from its current 380, especially because a growing list of competitors is vying for the same customers, often with lower prices. Which is forcing Whole Foods to compete more on price. (It has to be careful about this, because it does not want to lose its essential values proposition by stressing value, but doesn't want to ignore value to the extent that it loses relevance.)

Understanding consumer motivations is key to understanding the competitive field.