Whole Foods Market is gearing up to expand its range of “value” and lowest priced products as part of efforts to widen its appeal to customers during the cost of living crisis.
Like other supermarkets the Amazon-owned grocer has seen sales across its seven UK stores squeezed as customers have traded down from its traditionally premium offering, and buying teams are working to increase the number of opening price points that are available within its standard product mix “in the months to come”.
“We are conscious in terms of developing the various price points so that it is accessible to shop in Whole Foods and that you feel like you’re getting value,” Whole Foods UK director of purchasing and operation Jade Hoai told The Grocer. She added that customers will start to see “new” products come into stores at that “opening price point” as a result.
Whole Foods’ definition of “value” is a product that “meets all of our high standards” but at price point where consumers feel like they’re getting a good deal, Haoi said.
“At the same time there is always that customer who wants to come in and find a bottle of champagne, or find a really nice cheese or a nice steak, so that will be there as well,” she added.
Over the last few months, Whole Foods has been rolling new signs into stores that highlight its lower priced, or promotional items.
It includes the curation of a range of its existing products, including yoghurt, toothpaste and pastry sheets which are now advertised under the banner of ‘Low prices, Same high standards’ online and in stores.
Initiatives like the signage campaign is something that Haoi’s team is “100% focused on” as a way of encouraging customers to increase their basket size, she said.
“In summary, you will see more value,” Haoi said.
“We’re very consciously making decisions that we believe our customers want and offering the right products at the right price point and making sure that there is that general promotional awareness of it.
“More and more people are going to come to do their full shop in Whole Foods Market because we are consciously leaning in to provide more value.”
‘Gifting’ presents key opportunity for Whole Foods
Pre-tax losses rose by 53% to £26.3million – from £17.2million – in 2022 according to latest accounts filed by Fresh and Wild, which operates Whole Foods in the UK.
Gifting remained a key area of advantage for Whole Foods, and would remain a strong focus of its product line up as the grocer enters what is its “golden quarter” in the build up to Christmas, Hoai said.
British consumers had increasingly been “buying into” celebrations like Thanksgiving, Haoi said. Gourmet noodles, women’s health and condiments made from speciality chilli peppers are among some of the other categories that buyers will be looking to target, identified in its 2024 Trends report.
The news follows a wider overhaul of Whole Foods buying calendar and supplier guidelines aimed providing buyers and suppliers with more structure, and to ensure that products hit shelves at more optimal times.
The changes - which were revealed by The Grocer in August - saw the introduction of specific category windows through out the year.