12.16.2008

Whole Foods Vs. New Seasons Market


If you're an urban dweller, you are blessed with a myriad of grocery shopping options. Portland is no exception. We have all the typical "big names" (Safeway, Kroger/Fred Meyer, Albertson's) and a fair amount of small, locally-owned neighborhood co-ops. We are also blessed with a growing chain of Health Food stores called New Seasons Market. Read on to find out some surprising news about how natural food giant Whole Foods is reacting to the presence of New Seasons Market.

It was recently brought to my attention that Whole Foods is being sued for an FTC violation. They are being accused of creating a monopoly in the Health Food Store industry when they acquired Wild Oats last year. Read more about New Seasons' response here.

What do I think? I totally think that Whole Foods has cornered the market nationally. I think they are way over-priced and I refuse to shop there. On the other hand, I find it very encouraging (but not surprising!) that my fellow Oreganics in Portland have chosen to support New Seasons over Whole Foods.

There are only 3 Whole Foods in the metro area and 7 New Seasons Markets, with plans in the works for more to come! New Seasons Market has done a fabulous job in the business with stellar customer service, an innovative online delivery service with personal shoppers, and working directly with local farmers to feature seasonal produce. Portland Oreganics apparently have a keen eye for authenticity when it comes to Health Food Stores.

I love New Seasons, but I must say it's not the thriftiest place to shop. I try to order as much as I can through Azure Standard (an equally innovative and successful business) and purchase my produce at a more affordable wholesaler, Uncle Paul's Produce, which I wrote about here. All that said, I love New Seasons in that they are committed to doing the right thing (they sponsor the local farmer's markets! They actually encourage you to support the Farmer's Market's Directly instead of purchasing through New Seasons!)

Let's join the Portland Oreganics in the spirit of supporting local, sustainable health food stores . If you don't have a "New Seasons" type of market near you, consider finding a Cooperative Grocery to support rather than Whole Foods. Remember that every dollar spent locally is a dollar (usually) given right back to the community. To find a Cooperative Grocery near you, look here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love your Blog. Have been reading lots about Whole Foods and New Seasons in this Blog, Natural~Specialty Foods Memo. You might find it interesting.

www.naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com

Keep up the great tips.

Jennifer said...

I never heard about New Seasons Market. Thanks for the info!

There's a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods near us. Maybe when we move we'll have more options available to us. HOPE HOPE HOPE!