By Amanda Roberson, Amy Zelezen, Ankush Brahmavar, Boris Pilipenko, Kinjal Gandhi and Matt Werner
Cincinnati resident Roberta Mand is spoiled for choice every time she steps out to buy groceries. Depending on whether she want to buy steaks, sushi, staples or macadamia-encrusted tuna, she heads to Costco, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Whole Foods or the local farmer’s market, all of which are nearby. Roberta’s array of choices illustrates the ever-evolving dynamics of the grocery industry. In this extremely competitive environment, all major players must continuously strategize to maintain a strong presence. A look at Whole Foods Market reveals how this increased competition can leave a company at a strategic crossroads. Since its beginnings in 1980, Whole Foods has been a leader in supplying organic and natural foods, and for years enjoyed its role as the only store catering to this niche market. However, since then other major players have identified this growing segment and now also carry lines of organic and natural foods.