AUSTIN, TX (August 26, 2008) — Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI), the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, today announced results from a recent survey that found, despite rising food prices, nearly 80 percent of U.S. adults (79 percent) say they do not want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy and the majority (70 percent) are continuing to buy the same amount of natural and/or organic foods as they always have.
The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive®, also found two in three adults (67 percent) prefer to buy natural and/or organic foods to conventional foods if prices are comparable, and they would like to find ways to be able to buy these foods within their budget (66 percent). Surprisingly, the survey results were similar across geographic locations, despite the varying regional impact of the housing slump and economic downturn.
“It is reassuring to see these results as they confirm we’re on the right track in highlighting our value offerings for our customers,” says A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market. “At Whole Foods Market, we’re reminding shoppers that they don’t have to trade down on quality to save money – they can continue to choose high-quality foods and stay within their grocery budgets.”
The survey also found many adults are now preparing more meals at home (43 percent), using more coupons (40 percent), or going out of their way to look for lower-cost items (37 percent) as a result of higher food costs.
Whole Foods Market has recently initiated several programs that show consumers “how to shop Whole Foods Market on a budget.” These include: · “The Whole Deal™” value guide which highlights great product steals and offers money-saving coupons and tips, and budget recipes to help shoppers continue to enjoy quality organic and natural foods while stretching their food dollar · Value Tours: In-store “Value Gurus” lead Value Tours to show customers how to find the best deals and enjoy savings · Promotion of 365 Everyday Value® items, the company’s private label brand · Promotion of family packs, value packs, and weekly promotions and deals · “The Whole Deal” customer tips site with shopper suggestions and ideas on stretching your food dollar found at: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/socialmedia/wholedeal.
A Snapshot of Food Prices
To help dispel some of the myths about Whole Foods Market’s prices, the company encourages shoppers to compare its prices to those of other food retailers. A recent market basket survey conducted the week of August 18 found that Whole Foods Market had the lowest total price for common pantry items when compared to four national retailers around the country (the stores used for comparison were located in Nevada, Maryland, Colorado and California). Whole Foods Market compared non-sale prices for popular weekly grocery items such as milk, eggs, lettuce, peanut butter, tuna, shells and cheddar, and frozen fruit. The average total price for the Whole Foods Market basket was $47.04, compared to the competitors’ average of $55.97.
*Whole Foods Market prices were obtained from locations nearest competitors listed on this chart. PL brand is 365 Everyday Value.
**Albertsons retail prices obtained from the 2650 W. Horizon Ridge, Henderson, NV 89052 location. PL brands are Albertsons and Wild Harvest.
***Wegmans retail prices obtained from the 122 Shawan Rd., Hunt Valley, MD 21030 location. PL brands are Wegmans and Wegmans Food You Feel Good About.
****King Soopers retail prices obtained from the 5301 W. 38th Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80212 location. PL brands are Kroger, King Soopers and Private Selection.
*****Vons retails obtained from the 155 California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105 location. PL brands are Safeway, Safeway Select, Safeway Lucerne, Vons and O Organics.
“For years, shoppers have relied on us to help them with needs ranging from special diets to planning the perfect dinner party menu. Now, during this bump in the economy, they can rely on us to do the homework for them with effective cost-saving ideas as well, so they can continue to enjoy the natural and organic foods that satisfy their lifestyle needs,” said Gallo.
Below is a summary of the Whole Foods Market consumer survey findings: · About three in four U.S. adults (74%) purchase natural and/or organic foods, with one in five (20%) saying that more than one-fourth of all the groceries they buy are natural and/or organic.
· The majority of U.S. adults (70%) say they continue to buy the same amount of natural and/or organic foods as they always have, and two in three (67%) prefer natural and/or organic foods over conventional foods if prices are comparable.
· Two in three adults (66%) say they would like to find ways to be able to buy natural and/or organic foods within their budget.
· Despite nearly four in five U.S. adults (79%) indicating that they don't want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy—even with today's rising food prices—most U.S. adults (84%) have somehow changed the way they shop for groceries as a result of higher food prices.
· Many adults are now preparing more meals at home (43 percent), using more coupons (40 percent), or going out of their way to look for lower-cost items (37 percent) to deal with rising food costs.
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About the Consumer Survey:
The Food and the Economy survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Whole Foods Market, Inc. between August 6 and August 8, 2008 among 2,209 adults ages 18+. Data were weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.