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This research paper would investigate different facets of Whole Foods Business, such as its history, mission, and vision, as well as the company's goals. The report will also look at the company's products and the advantages they have over other products on the market. Other facets of the business to be investigated are the company's benefits and challenges in this dynamic economy and sector. As a grocery chain that specializes in fresh food items, it has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the most well-known and dependable supermarket chains in the United States (Siderer, Maquet, & Anklam, 2005). There have been various debates on the food products that are made from artificial ingredients over the years. There have also been researches conducted to provide insight into the effects of these natural ingredients on the human bodies.
Whole Food Company is a supermarket chain in the United States that specializes in the production of natural food products free from any artificial additives, sweeteners, or flavors. Whole Food Market was the first American company to be certified to sell organic food substances making it accountable to the rules and regulations set by the National Organic program standards. The company was officially opened in Austin, Texas, which is still its current headquarters, in 1980. The company was started when a group of four people came together and made a decision to implement an idea of mass production and sale of organic food products. The founders of the Whole Food Market were Renee Lawson Hardy, John Mackey, Craig Weller, and Mark Skiles (Batte, Hooker, Haab, & Beaverson, 2007).
The basis of their foundation lays in the strategic changes that exist in the market. The four founders made their assessment of the market and the needs of the consumers and found out that most of the food products available were made of artificial ingredients some of which were even harmful to the consumers. Therefore, they came up with a plan to produce organic food products that could both be marketable and healthy to the population in the United States. Surprisingly, after their products penetrated the market, they became popular, as the people saw them as health options. Doctors also started prescribing these organic food products to their patients, especially those with health conditions that are associated with unhealthy eating habits (Johnston, 2008).
The quality of food products in the Whole Food Market fulfills very high standards of food products that are defined by the stores by being minimally processed food products that are free from artificial ingredients, hydrogenated fats, and flavors. The company also announced that it would not sell milk or meat from cloned animals. Although the FDA cleared these products as safe for consumption, the Whole Food Market has maintained that all its products have to be fully natural. Whole Food Market also sells USDA-certified organic products and food. These products have been proven to be environmentally friendly as well as promote ecological sustainability. The stores also refuse to sell eggs from the chicken that are confined in battery cages as well as foil grasses due to the cruelty that these animals face (Siderer et al., 2005).
The website of Whole Foods Market details the company’s criteria for selling dietary supplements food and personal care products. Before June 2011, the body care products from the Whole Food Market contained various ingredients that were not cleared by the FDA as healthy. Some of these products were shampoos, petroleum products, and synthetics (Batte et al., 2007).
There are rating systems in stores that were developed in order for the customers to rate the quality of food products that are produced by the Whole Food Market. This program was made to ensure transparency among customers and employees in the services delivered by the Whole Food Market. There is a sustainability system for rating the seafood department for the sea fish caught. The meat department in conjunction with the global animal partnership has a rating system for the quality standards of meat being sold in the Whole Food Market stores. The eco-scale rating system was established for the grocery department which measures the impact that the Whole Food Market has on the environment. There have been more efforts made to ensure that all the departments have rating systems. The rating systems are put in place to ensure that the customers make informed choices when dealing with Whole Food products. Most of these food products are organic and have several advantages over artificial products. This rating enables the customers to make choices about their preferences as well as the available choices (Johnston, 2008).
The Whole Food Market purchases products for internal, national, and local retailers. These form the basis of the distribution. The distribution at the national level is provided by vendors that facilitate discounts.
Mission of Whole Food Market
The mission of the Whole Food Market is to set a standard of excellence in food retail. The standards, in this case, are in regards to the healthy nature of the products. Most of the food-producing companies are more concerned with profits than the health of the consumers. In the case of the Whole Food company, its mission is to improve the health standards of the people through the production of healthy food products from natural ingredients. The company was established to change lives and, from the historical perspective, those consumers who have been faithful to buying Whole Food products have provided testimonies about how those products changed their lives (Siderer et al., 2005). The success of the mission of the Whole Food company has been a working progress; most people in the United States still prefer artificial food products due to their cheap nature. However, with the dynamic changes in the society, there has been an increase in the number of customers who have turned to natural food products from the artificial once.
Vision of Wholesome
The vision of the company reaches far beyond just being a food retailer. The Whole Food Market tries to ensure continuous sustainability and healthy living of the consumers and the society in general.
Objectives of Wholesome
The goals of this supermarket chain are:
Supplying the United States consumers with healthy natural products at affordable prices.
Fostering development in the community through healthy living to fight health conditions associated with bad eating habits.
Motto of Wholesome
Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet. The vision of this company emphasizes the fact that they are not only concerned with the retail business. The organization stresses that they are more in interested in the healthy development of the society and the individual. This gives a broader vision of the company. Healthy living is more than just exercises and eating healthy foods. It starts from the mind, as a change in the mindset leads to a healthy choice of life. In most cases, the people who choose a healthy life incorporate various aspects of healthy living that include exercises, reduction of stress, relaxation, and eating healthy foods (Buckely, Cowan, & McCarthy, 2007).
Benefits of the Whole Food Products
The Whole Food products have various benefits as compared to the food products that are sold in other supermarkets and are made from artificial products.
The Whole Food Market has foods made from natural products; this makes them healthy, as they have nutrients that help the body in more ways than one. Non-artificial products are nutritious by nature; this is because all the ingredients are made from natural products making them healthy to be eaten by any person. The term “healthy” has been used in various circumstances to mean healthy living that includes exercise, drinking water as well as having a balanced diet. This definition does not entirely cover the term “healthy” for various reasons. In the Whole Food Market, health starts with the consumption of healthy food products which are free from any chemicals of any kind (Buckely et al., 2007).
Cheaper in Prices
The Whole Food Market process is cheaper than other products of the same kind. The cereals, grains, and fruits as well as vegetables have no artificial ingredients. This makes them cheaper than other products of the same categories. For instance, this includes food products that are made with artificial ingredients such as sweetener, flavor, and preservatives. Since the inputs of organic food substances are less, the food products are, therefore, cheaper than the food products made from artificial food products. In the end, the overall prices of products that are made from natural products are both healthier and cheaper.
The whole food market supermarket chain has branches all over the country. This makes them convenient to their customers. The availability of these organic food products gives them an added advantage to the customers. The diverse supermarket chains ensure that the organic food products are available to all regions of the country. With such an availability of food products the Whole Food Market can maintain and retain its customers. It is also able to attract more new customers (Hamel, 2008).
Natural food substances have been known to have medicinal effects on people. For instance, fruits and vegetables have been recommended to people with obesity as well as those with heart conditions or hypertension. Organic food products help prevent disease, especially for vegetarians. Since the products have a sufficient amount of nutrients, they can prevent the consumers contracting various diseases. In most cases, health practitioners recommend a healthy diet for most of the patients, especially those who have a health condition that is associated with bad and unhealthy eating habits (Johnston, 2008).
The production of organic food products has been the concern of the 21st century in more ways than one. There have been high rates of health conditions that have been associated with foods with artificial food ingredients. The killer diseases of the 21st century are cancer, strokes, and hypertensions among others. All these health conditions are associated with the changes in lifestyle that are mostly characterized by consumption of plenty of chemicals found in food additives and other artificial ingredients in food products. Initially, plenty of funds were directed towards the research of the causes of this increase in health conditions. The findings attributed most of the health issues in this century to the people’s lifestyles. This gave the Whole Food Market a platform for marketing their products, as the consumers are now more concerned about their health.
The preferences of the consumers have been changing over the years due to changes in health-related issues. The FDA in the United States of America is a body that has been tasked with the regulation of food, drugs, and cosmetic products as a forum to protect the public health of all citizens. With the current stress on these regulations, the companies that produce food products with plenty of artificial ingredients have been having problems with the FDA, thereby straining their operations. While this goes on, the Whole Food Market has been given total approval by the FDA to keep operating, as their products are made from natural ingredients which are healthy and advantageous for their consumers (Hamel, 2008).
Being among the few companies that produce foods with natural ingredients, the Whole Food Market has managed to penetrate the market and give the other companies a tight competition. On its part, it has managed to stay ahead of the competition, as its products are exclusively healthy and safe to use. In the century that is characterized with plenty of health issues, the doctors and the nutritional and other health practitioners advocate for changes in the lifestyles of people. These changes in lifestyle can mostly be characterized by healthy living, such as plenty of exercises and eating many vegetables and fruits. The Whole Food Market comes in at this point, as all its food products are made with natural ingredients or natural food products. This makes it a perfect choice for consumers who are aware of the significance of the natural food products and understand the advantages they have over artificial food products (Hamel, 2008). The FDA in the United States approved the production of organic food by the Whole food company with full knowledge of the benefits that it offers for the society.
There is a very strong relationship between Whole Food Market products and the environment. The organic food products encourage environmental conservation in the sense that these food products are planted and, therefore, make the environment green. The planting of trees and vegetables as well as fruits helps the various reforestation programs (Sahota, 2006).
The Whole Food Company joined the Marine Stewardship Council in 1999. The Council is a global organization that promotes sustainable fisheries. This organization encourages responsible fishing that will enable the future generations to have the opportunity to continue consuming fish. In the USA environmental protection agency, the Whole Food Market has been ranked third. In 2004 and 2005, the Whole Food Market received the green power award (Johnston, 2008).
Apart from the use of organic food products, the Whole Food Market is also involved with the conservation of the environment through the use of disposable packaging. It was the first US company to get rid of plastic bags in their stores. Plastics packaging is known to cause environmental problems in various ways. For example, the plastic bags lead to littering that destroys the environment. Other initiatives undertaken by the Whole Food Market include recycling of plastic bags used in their food products. This makes the organization a big part of the environmental conservation of the United States (Sahota, 2006).
Humane Treatment of Animals
The people associated with the ethical treatment of animals in 2002 begun to put pressure on the Whole Food Market to take steps in the direction of improving the treatment of animals that were being placed in their stores. In January 2005, the Whole Food Market formed the Animal Compassion Foundation, a nonprofit foundation, the aim of which was to encourage other producers to make changes in their treatment of animals. Natural Meat Quality Standards and Animal Compassionate Standards of the Whole Food Market prohibit bill trimming, toe punching, pulling feathers from live ducks, and slitting the webs of the feet, heat treatment, and toe removal while raising ducks for Whole Foods Market products (Sahota, 2009).
Marketing of Whole Food Products
The marketing teams of the Whole Food products use diverse methods that are at their disposal. The current increase in inventions gives the company various options. Social media has been among the most reliable tools for marketing Whole Food Market products. The information on the food products is displayed on the company’s social media pages for the convenience of the customers. Other tools used include magazines, newspapers, and brochures that demonstrate the variety to the products the company sells as well as the new products that come to the market from time to time (David, 2011). The Whole Food Market is also involved in various community development programs, most of which are aimed at empowering the public to take charge of their lives. Other community development programs involve environmental conservation as well as donating to various nonprofit organizations. Their involvement in these programs gives them an upper hand in the marketing field, as the consumers view them not only as a business, but also as a partner.
One of the advantages that the Whole Food Market has in the marketing arena is that their products are of better quality than those of their competition. Even though some other food companies produce only organic food products, the majority still produces food with artificial additives, sweeteners, flavors, and hydrogenated fats. Therefore, Whole Food Market can only consider those few companies as their competition and not the rest of the supermarket chains in the food industry.
It can, therefore, be stated, that the Whole Food Market is among the few food producing companies in the United States that produces organic and healthy food products. It specializes in the production of food with natural ingredients as well as natural food products. Due to the current health issues in the world, the Whole Food Market products have been able to penetrate the market, as the consumers’ preferences have shifted to healthier products as opposed to food products with artificial ingredients such as additives and hydrogenated fats as well as flavors and sweeteners. As mentioned earlier, the Whole Food Market has been able to enter the market due to the society becoming aware of the benefits of maintaining healthy eating habits to sustain a healthy lifestyle. The vision and mission of the Whole Food Market point towards a healthy society that is based on healthy choices of living.
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