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Now that more mainstream grocery stores and big box retailers like Walmart and Target have expanded their organic offering, Whole Foods has pumped money into a new brand campaign to remind people that they stand for more than organics, homeopathics and new age thinking. And because consumers now have more access to lower cost organic food, Whole Foods has much work to do to overcome the perception of being an overpriced, exclusive, luxe grocery store to the wealthy (perhaps you've heard the store referred to by the tongue-in-cheek moniker Whole Wallet). In some cases, they will have to justify why their prices are higher for certain items. This is where the campaign's focus on corporate values comes in.
Whole Foods is placing a hefty bet on the Conscious Consumer trend. According to a study by the Hartman Group, Gen X (the often overlooked middle child of generation-focused marketing) holds much purchase power when it comes to grocery shopping, and have strong opinions about the food they buy. And let's not forget that most coveted group of consumers, Millennials - who in 2013 represented 20% of US spending. According to a 2013 Boston Consulting Group study, up to 10% of Millennials are Clean-and-Green Millennials who make purchases because they are cause-driven or environmentally-minded. But the largest classification of Millennials - 29% - are Hip-ennials who "...seriously believe one can have a positive impact on the world." Our own study about Sustainability and generational opinion revealed that Millennials felt personally responsibility for driving environmental changes, while also believing in sharing responsibility with others. They also want to have their voices/opinions heard in terms of influencing companies’ Sustainability efforts.
If Whole Foods can capture the minds, hearts and wallets of these consumers, the investment on this latest brand campaign will be money well spent.
For more information on our Sustainability study, click here.