Over the past several years, there has been an onslaught of e-friendly, organic, and 100% natural products and services being offered. This segment of each market, whether it be cleaning supplies, cosmetics, or groceries, continues to expand. Most of us are on a quest to be healthier and better stewards of our environment. I have been a fan of Whole Foods Market since it was founded back in 1980 in Austin, Texas. They have built a credible and reliable brand for their strict standards relative to the products they offer.
Recently, there was a very interesting article in the Dallas Morning News highlighting the increasing scrutiny being put in place by the leadership of Whole Foods. It is quite impressive! For example, in the context of animal welfare for meats and other livestock products, they rate their vendors from ‘step 1’ where animals are never kept in crates, cages, or crowded pens to where animals are kept their entire lives on a free-range, friendly farm. They use this same level of scrutiny for EVERY single product in their stores. These standards are driven by their overall mission as a company to: “lead the consumer toward more healthy eating and living” and anchored by their values of being consumer-led and caring about the world and the environment.
Those of you who follow this blog know that I am a raving fan of John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods. He is unwavering in his commitment to their mission and their values. And, the one distinction which is notable and from which we can all learn, is that he (and his entire team) say what they do and do what they say. Because they are in integrity in every aspect of their business, they have built a trusted brand.
Does it matter? Of course. Yet, not only does it matter because they are committed citizens and employees, it absolutely translates to profits. Whole Foods profits were up 20% this quarter. They plan on TRIPLING their U.S. store count to about 1000; and plan to end this fiscal year with an 11% increase of overall revenue. Sure, they are capitalizing on the market momentum for eating more healthy; however, this would be an empty effort without staying true to their mission and values AND doing what they say they are going to do. Building that trust – as a provider of eco-responsible and safe groceries – is the real differentiation. We TRUST the source. TRUST translates to real ROI.
Are you a trusted provider? Do you and your company do what you say you are going to do? Is it consistent or episodic? Food for thought…literally.