Whole Foods stock plummets 50 percent on Wall Street. Is anyone shocked? As much as I love to walk into a Whole Foods, get a glass of wine at the wine bar to sip while I shop for the freshest produce, organic ingredients, and healthy snacks, I clutch my chest gasping when the cashier rings up the total on my small bag of groceries. It is very easy to spend fifty dollars for groceries purchased to make one dinner. The Whole Foods experience would be perfect if the prices were brought considerably.
When I worked at a prestigious record label in Beverly Hills, California, there was a Whole Foods just a couple of blocks up the street. It was conveniently located for our office building to grab a quick-lunch. However, many of us would still opt to get in our cars to drive somewhere else for lunch, risking being a couple of minutes late returning back to work. We saved money. We often joked that we could not afford to eat at Whole Check every week. Even though I would often encounter celebrities at Whole Foods and come back to the office with interesting stories, unfortunately I did not have the paycheck to eat there regularly to run into such Hollywood royalty at Sydney Poitier at the salad bar. The beautiful lay-out of every Whole Foods and the conscious healthy choices could possibly explain why their prices are through the roof.
According to the New York Times, investors are not as confident in the franchise with such competition at Target and Costco now offering organic in bulk at a low-cost. Most customers, if given a choice, would choose Costco over shopping at Whole Foods if they were in close proximity to one another. Many investors have not moved passed the over charging of customers. Whole Foods sales dropped from 2.5 to 0.4. The store reported that they felt every bit of the drop in their numbers. However, they refuse to lower their prices or sell lower quality products. Co-chief Executive Walter Robb said they could bow down like their competitors to sell farm raised salmon that is bad for the environment, but they would much rather sell products that are healthy for their consumers.
What many consumers across the country are struggling to understand is why it is so costly to eat healthier? Those in lower-income areas are never in the minds or hearts of those running Whole Foods when they are sitting in their suits for a round table discussion in a posh conference room. Are the lower-income families deserving to eat unhealthy processed foods laced in chemicals no one can pronounce or spell? Cancer causing ingredients that lower-income families have no choice but to eat because they cannot afford Whole Foods. But who are we kidding? Lower income households are not the only ones who cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods. Middle class households will purchase their produce from Whole Foods, but will drive up the street to a cheaper grocery store to finish their grocery list.
No one can afford for Whole Foods to take their Whole Check these days.