Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Whole Foods - Go Big or Go Home

There are few stereotypes I like to promote, however living in Texas, there is no denying that we do things big! And in Austin, The Flagship Whole Foods store is no exception. It is not simply the 80,000 square feet, but the purely experiential aspect of the shopping experience. You can find literally thousands varieties of fruits or vegetables, enjoy dinner at the various food stations all with an impressive spread of prepared food, hang out at the raw food bar, and let us not forget the fair trade dark chocolate fountain as you peruse through the bakery section (which by the way has literally brought a tear to people's eye.) Don't think that the question of over consumption does not pass through this socially conscious collective of consumers, it continues to be a question in people's mind.

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and other skeptics criticize Whole Foods food for using their commitment to organic and natural products at the expense of local foods, regional producers and distributers and as a mere marketing ploy. Michael Pollan and John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods) have had a lively debate that can be seen on John Mackey's blog.

Regardless, Michael Pollan agrees that Whole Foods has played an instrumental role in advancing the awareness of the organic movement, and Austinites agree. Whole Foods is a kind of golden child in Austin, and its customers are a loyal base that support and trust this company's commitment to supporting the local community and sustainable and organic business. Will this commitment and brand loyalty translate across borders? The company plans to open its first store in London in June . It will ideally showcase the same focus on cooking demonstrations, product samplings and in-house eateries that mingle thousands of the freshest and finest natural and organic offerings in every area of the store, with a focus on procuring foods from local growers, food artisans and manufacturers. And as they say in Texas, go big or go home! Whole Foods is leaving its nest, and it is up to the London consumers to empower themselves with the tools of awareness balanced by the convenience and organic shopping experience that Whole Foods is committed to delivering its customers.

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