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Whole Foods tries to shed its ‘Whole Paycheck’ image

Tim Fitzsimons May 7, 2015

Whole Foods tries to shed its ‘Whole Paycheck’ image

Tim Fitzsimons May 7, 2015

Whole Foods Market, Inc., is planning a spinoff chain that it says is aimed at millennials. 

We already have an idea of what it might be called —”Dailyshop,” “Small Batch,” and “Swiftgoods” are all names the chain has trademarked, among others.

If those names sound quick and easy to you, perhaps it’s no accident. Darren Seifer, a food and beverage analyst at the NPD group, says millennials eat out less than previous generations. But even though they’re cooking at home, they’re “trying still to replicate some of the properties that restaurants provided them.”

Those properties, he says, says are speed, quality and freshness. Sounds like millennials would be ideal Whole Foods customers, right? Except for one big problem.

“Everyone likes to call them ‘Whole Paycheck,'” Seifer says, due to the store’s reputation for high prices.

Millennials eat out less not only because it’s healthier, but because millennials are poorer. Economists say the Great Recession created permanent damage to this generation’s earning capacity. 

So Whole Foods’ model of organic, fresh, and expensive, is being undercut by companies like Walmart and Target, which are increasingly offering organic options at lower prices. 

“This will be a way for them to kind of reach that new broadening out of the organics demand that’s going on in the marketplace,” says Mark Wiltamuth, managing director at Jeffries.

So the next challenge will be offering a less expensive shopping experience without undercutting Whole Foods’ prestige as a brand.

“Maintaining the integrity of the brand while doing so in a way that makes it appeal to a broader audience will be most important,” says Christina Rak, a senior analyst at Huge.

We asked Marketplace staff and listeners what the new, chain should be called. Here are some of our favorite suggestions:

  • Failure to Lunch
  • Half Foods
  • Wholer Foods
  • “It’s Not All Pizza But Some Of It Is”
  • [tomato emoji] + [grape emoji]

And, of course…

  • Marketplace



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