retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Whole Foods has announced that it is launching a “Health Starts Here” initiative in all of its 289 stores, as it works to encourage its shoppers to adopt a healthier approach to food that it says includes plant-based, nutrient-dense whole foods, which it says should be real, fresh and natural, and, when possible, organic, local and seasonal.

"We opened our first store 30 years ago to provide natural foods as a delicious and healthy alternative to the increasing amounts of highly processed foods with artificial ingredients," said Margaret Wittenberg, global vice president of quality standards, in a prepared statement. "Over the years, we realized that providing the healthiest foods available is simply not enough. We are now deepening our commitment to healthy eating by providing education and support tools to inspire interest in foods that help improve and maintain health and vitality."

Whole Foods said that it is partnering with two unique third-party healthy eating partner programs - Eat Right America and the Engine 2 Diet - that offer 28-day "getting started" plans while “providing plenty of room for personal choices to help those who are interested in starting on their own journey down the road to optimum health.”

According to the announcement, “Whole Foods Market will feature free information, recipes, in-store lectures, events and support groups. A selection of supporting educational books and cookbooks will also be for sale alongside the ‘Engine 2 Diet’ book and ‘Eat Right America’ program materials.”
KC's View:
Whole Foods and its CEO, John Mackey, have been upfront about a new kind of purity of vision that they seem to intent on pursuing. What’s interesting about this is that it comes after a period in which it expanded its tent somewhat and also faced economic challenges from the recession.

It is at least possible that this new purity could make Whole Foods less attractive to some people, which could have an impact on sales and profits, which could affect the company’s stock price. Mackey seems to be betting that this won’t happen...but I’m not sure I’d want to lay that bet.