Who says gourmet food has to be a decadent indulgence? Whole Foods Market
Prepared foods have been a great boon to Whole Foods. Now, its new "Health Starts Here" initiative plans to offer healthier pre-fab options, limiting add-ons such as refined flour and sugar, added oil, and processed ingredients. These new comestibles will also include nutritional scorecards to help customers make more educated choices while they shop.
Sure, any grocer that offers fresh fruits and vegetables can tout its merchandise's health-giving properties. But leave it to Whole Foods to try an unconventional angle that competitors Safeway
Huge, sprawling discounters like Wal-Mart
"Health Starts Here" isn't Whole Foods' first foray into encouraging better eating among its shoppers. It's hired healthy eating specialists for each store to provide tips and demonstrations, while adding on services like wellness clubs and dietary education.
Whole Foods has often been ahead of the curve on emerging trends in consumer tastes and beliefs. Beyond the simple rise of natural and organic foods' popularity, it's also led the pack in bringing vegetarian fare to the mainstream, and adopting animal welfare ratings for meat suppliers. Conventional grocers have now begun to offer similar labeling at their own meat counters.
The grocery segment is a low-margin, highly competitive corner of retail. For the most part, investors should shop elsewhere for healthy profit growth. But thanks to its innovative ways of doing business, including the "Health Starts Here" program, Whole Foods is arguably the only supermarket stock that's not spoiled.
Is healthiness a recipe for Whole Foods' continued success? Sound off in the comments box below.
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Alyce Lomax owns shares of Whole Foods Market. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.