Whole Foods Survey: Company May Try to Alter Price Perception

Organic grocery chain Whole Foods is trying to change its reputation from trendy, urban, upscale chain to a more affordable and suburban grocery store. Will the previously expensive organic fare sold at Whole Foods be able to appeal to more price-conscious suburban families if the chain tries to change its price perception?

whole foods

Grocery Shoppers

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 5% of respondents said they shop at Whole Foods regularly, and another 30% said they have shopped there in the past. 17% of respondents said they have not shopped at Whole Foods, but they have shopped at other organic grocery stores. And 49% said they have not shopped at any organic food stores.

Organic Benefits

Those who have shopped at organic food stores, including Whole Foods, had many reasons for doing so. 58% said they’ve chosen organic food for the health benefits, 28% said they’ve chosen it for the environmental benefits, 7% said they’ve chosen it because it’s all they have near home, and 16% had other reasons. Another 36% said they don’t really choose organic food over regular food, they’ve just tried it once or twice.

Those who don’t shop at organic food stores also had many different reasons. Price definitely played a major factor, with 39% saying they choose not to shop there because it’s too expensive. But an even higher number, 42% of respondents, said they stay away from organic food stores because there are none near their homes. 28% said they don’t shop organic because they just don’t care to, and another 19% said they don’t go to organic food stores because they can buy some organic products at their regular grocery stores.

Price Perception

Those who have shopped at organic food stores weren’t necessarily immune to price shock. 30% said they felt the prices at Whole Foods and similar stores were not reasonable, while just 14% said they were reasonable. Another 56%, however, said that the prices are a little steep, but it’s worth it for higher quality.

And those who do not shop at organic stores might be persuaded to do so if price and location were not a factor. When asked if they would shop at an organic food store that was next door to their current supermarket and had the same prices, 32% said that they would, 40% said they would sometimes, and 28% said they would not.

Whole Foods doesn’t necessarily want to cut ties to its urban, upscale roots, but as it expands it will have to change its price perception to also appeal to a different crowd. The widget below shows the results of the AYTM.com survey in full. Be sure to click “open full report” for full details.

Photo Credit: Whole Foods Market in Sherman Oaks, CA from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on February 27 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.