Whole Foods Market

Case # 28 Whole Foods Market: 2007
Will There Be Enough Organic Food to Satisfy the Growing Demand?

Case Abstract

Starting with a single store in 1978, Whole Foods Market grew to be the world’s retail leader in 2007 in the natural and organic food industry, with 193 stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. John Mackey, Whole Foods’ founder and CEO made an important strategic acquisition in 2005 when the company bought rival Wild Oats with its 100 stores in the U.S. and Canada. A mission-driven company, Whole Foods uses the training and enthusiasm of its employees and its store layout and ambience to successfully compete in the industry. The company had revenues of $5.6 billion in fiscal 2006. John Mackey has set an ambitious growth target of $12 billion in revenue and over 300 stores by 2010. The challenge for Mackey and Whole Foods is to achieve these targets without sacrificing quality and their current reputation.

Key Points

• Describing mission-driven strategy. Explain the importance of a company’s mission and describe its role in strategy formulation and implementation as shown in Chapter 2.
• Examine the external environment facing a company. Describe the remote, industry, and operating environment that a company has to contend with as indicated in Chapter 4.
• Define organizational leadership and its role in shaping the culture and strategy of an organization (chapter 12).

Related Chapters

Chapter 2 (Company Mission), Chapter 4 (The External Environment), and Chapter 12(Leadership and Culture).

Web Links

Whole Foods’ website is www.wholefoodsmarket.com
Whole Foods’ financial statements (ticker symbol WFMI) can be accessed at http://finance.yahoo.com/
Trader Joe’s website is www.traderjoes.com
The Organic Trade Association’s website is www.ota.com

Case Discussion Questions and Answers

  1. How does Whole Foods’ mission and philosophy drive its strategy?
  2. Describe the competitive environment facing Whole Foods.
  3. What role do employees play at the company? Why is their role important?
  4. What are the key factors driving Whole Foods’ success?
  5. What role does CEO John Mackey play at Whole Foods? What challenges does he and the company face?