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Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Natural Channel Grocery Shopping: The Future of Food Retailing

Building on analysis presented in other reports in its Future of Food Retailing series, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Natural Channel Grocery Shopping: The Future of Food Retailing details essential trends shaping the market, including the snow-balling impact of Millennials as avid shoppers both online and in-store.  It profiles natural and organic foods retailers across the full spectrum, including pure-play retailers like Earth Fare, Fresh Thyme, Lucky’s, Natural Grocers, Sprouts, and The Fresh Market; traditional and non-traditional grocers including Albertsons/Safeway, ALDI, Costco, Kroger, Lidl, Publix, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Wegmans; and e-tailers including Amazon.com, Door to Door Organics, and Thrive Market. 

Featuring multi-year Simmons consumer data and exclusive data from Packaged Facts’ National Pet Owner Survey, the report also profiles purchasers of natural and organic foods, with an extensive and data-rich analysis covering demographics, psychographics, and purchasing preferences.


  • Executive Summary
    • Trends & Opportunities
      • Market in Context
      • Trends and Opportunities
    • The Natural Channel Shopper
      • Trader Joe's and Whole Foods
      • Sprouts Farmers Markets
      • Local Natural Grocers
    • Whole Foods Market
      • Company Overview
      • Amazon Acquires Whole Foods
      • Company Mission and Ethics
      • Quality Standards and Programs
      • Store Placement Strategy
      • New Store Size Shrinking
      • Whole Foods Teams Up with Instacart for Home Delivery
      • " Whole Paycheck" Image Hard to Shake, but Multiple Efforts Ongoing
      • 365 Everyday Value Store Brand: "Fill Your Pantry Without Emptying Your Pocketbook"
      • The 365 by Whole Foods Market Retail Format: Strategy and Risk
      • Prepared Foods and In-Store Dining
    • Trader Joe's
      • Company Overview
      • Competitive Advantages
      • Private Label Fame
      • Attractive Pricing
      • Some Criticisms in Press
    • The Retail Competition
      • Introduction
      • Retailer Profiles: Natural Specialty Chains
      • Retailer Profiles: Mainstream Grocers
      • Internet Retailers
  • Trends & Opportunities
    • Chapter Highlights
    • Market in Context
      • Natural Foods Channel a Small but Dynamic Segment of Food Retailing
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Natural and Organic Foods and Beverages, 2012-2021 (in billions of dollars)
      • Grocery Retailing More Competitive Than Ever
      • Food Deflation and Pricing Pressure
      • Retailer Upheaval: Consolidation, Reevaluation, and Bankruptcy
      • Market Entry of Lidl Further Increases Pricing Pressure
      • E-Commerce Going Gangbusters
    • Trends and Opportunities
      • Brick + Click
      • Walmart Fields Multiple Shopping Apps, Natural Retailers Behind the Curve
      • Wireless and Screenless (Think Alexa) Payment
      • Brick-and-Mortar Grocers Developing "Click-and-Collect"
      • Brick-and-Mortar Grocers Building out Home Delivery Options, Including Via Instacart
      • Self-Checkout and Frictionless Shopping
      • Smaller Stores Bigger Than Ever
      • Exclusive Brands, National Brands, and Amazon
      • Consumer Demand for Natural, Organic, and Clean Label
        • Table Attitudes Toward Organic and Natural Foods: Adults Overall vs. Natural Food Channel Shoppers Overall, 2017 (percent of and index among adults)
        • Table Attitudes Toward Artificial Ingredients in Foods: Adults Overall vs. Natural Food Channel Shoppers Overall, 2017 (percent of and index among adults)
      • Earth Fare and Whole Foods Creating "Safe Havens" for Non-GMO Shoppers
        • Table Attitudes Toward GMO Foods: Adults Overall vs. Natural Food Channel Shoppers Overall, 2017 (percent of and index among adults)
      • The Future of Trader Joe's (and ALDI)
      • Whole Foods, Kroger, and Amazon Tapping into Meal Kits Boom
      • Prepared Foods an Increasingly Important Competitive Chip for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
      • Value Pricing a Growing Watchword in Natural and Organic Grocery Retailing
      • Millennials Big Online-and In-store
  • The Natural Channel Shopper
    • Chapter Highlights
    • Trader Joe's and Whole Foods
      • Trader Joe's Outpaces Whole Foods, Conventional Supermarkets in Customer Growth
        • Table Customer Draw for Trader Joe's and Whole Foods vs. Other Channels and Retailers, 2004-2016 (monthly percent of adults as shoppers)
      • Whole Foods Shoppers Shop Trader Joe's More Than Vice Versa
        • Table Cross-Shopping Patterns for Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Other Food Retailing Channels, 2016 (percent and number of adults in millions)
      • Trader Joe's Customers Hew Closer to Grocery Expenditures Norm
        • Table Consumer Base for Trader Joe's and Whole Foods: By Average Weekly Grocery Expenditure Levels, 2016 (percent and number of households)
      • Overview of Trader Joe's vs. Whole Foods Demographics
        • Table Overview of Trader Joe's vs. Whole Foods Demographics, 2004 vs. 2016 (indexes among adults)
        • Table Trader Joe's Shopper Demographics, 2016 (number, percentage of, and indexes among adults)
        • Table Whole Foods Shopper Demographics, 2016 (number, percentage of, and indexes among adults)
      • Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Shopper Psychographics
    • Sprouts Farmers Markets
      • Cross-Shopping Patterns
      • Demographic Patterns
        • Table Demographic Indexes for Shopping at Sprouts Farmers Market, 2017 (index among adults)
      • Food and Nutrition Psychographics
        • Table Food and Nutrition Psychographics: Sprouts Farmers Market Shoppers vs. Natural Food Channel Shoppers Overall, 2017 (percent of and index among adults)
      • Grocery Shopping Psychographics
        • Table Grocery Shopping Psychographics: Sprouts Farmers Market Shoppers vs. Natural Food Channel Shoppers Overall, 2017 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Local Natural Grocers
      • Cross-Shopping Patterns
      • Demographic Patterns
        • Table Demographic Indexes for Shopping at Local (Non-Chain) Natural Grocers, 2017 (index among adults)
      • Food and Nutrition Psychographics
        • Table Food and Nutrition Psychographics: Local Natural Grocer Shoppers vs. Natural Food Channel Shoppers Overall, 2017 (percent of and index among adults)
      • Grocery Shopping Psychographics
        • Table Grocery Shopping Psychographics: Local Natural Grocer Shoppers vs. Natural Food Channel Shoppers Overall, 2017 (percent of and index among adults)
  • Whole Foods Market
    • Chapter Highlights
      • Company Overview
        • Table Whole Foods Market Growth, 2009-2016
      • Amazon Acquires Whole Foods
      • Company History
      • Company Mission and Ethics
      • Quality Standards and Programs
      • Store Placement Strategy
      • Stores with Unique Features
      • New Store Size Shrinking
      • Whole Foods Teams Up with Instacart for Home Delivery
      • " Whole Paycheck" Image Hard to Shake, But Multiple Efforts Ongoing
      • Whole Deals Print Newsletter Out, App-Based and Online Coupon Program In
      • 365 Everyday Value Store Brand: "Fill Your Pantry Without Emptying Your Pocketbook"
      • The 365 by Whole Foods Market Retail Format: Strategy and Risk
      • Stores in Inner-City Neighborhoods
      • Prepared Foods and In-Store Dining
  • Trader Joe's
    • Chapter Highlights
      • Company Overview
      • Company History
      • Trader Joe's and ALDI: Separate but Comparable
      • Competitive Advantages
      • Private Label Fame
      • Fun Atmosphere
      • A Carefully Curated Product Mix
      • Attractive Pricing, and Increasingly So Vis-à -Vis Whole Foods
      • Trader Joe's "Fearless Flyer" Newsletter: Something of an Institution
      • Community Involvement
      • Some Criticism in Press
  • The Retail Competition
    • Chapter Highlights
    • Introduction
      • Beyond Whole Foods and Trader Joe's
      • A Volatile Market
      • E-commerce in the Natural and Organic Foods Market
    • Retailer Profiles: Natural Specialty Chains
      • Earth Fare
      • Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
      • Lucky's Market
      • Natural Grocers (Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets)
      • Sprouts Farmers Market
      • The Fresh Market
    • Retailer Profiles: Mainstream Grocers
      • Albertsons/Safeway
      • AALDI
      • Costco
      • Kroger
      • Lidl
      • Publix
      • Sam's Club
      • Walmart
      • Wegmans
    • Internet Retailers
      • Overview
      • Amazon.com-AmazonFresh, Prime Now, and Prime Pantry
      • Thrive Market
      • Door to Door Organics
      • Other Online Grocery Delivery Services
  • Appendix I
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Go Shopping Frequently " and "I Really Enjoy Any Kind of Shopping," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "When I Shop I Usually Visit a Variety of Stores and "A Store's Environment Can Make a Difference in Whether I Shop There," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Am Usually First of My Friends To Shop at New Store" and "Often Go Out of My Way to Find New Stores to Shop At," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Buy Goods Produced by My Country Whenever I Can" and "Would Pay More for Environmentally Friendly Products," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Always Look for Brand Name on Package" and "Like to Change Brands Often for the Sake of Variety and Novelty," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Enjoy Shopping With My Children" and "My Children Have a Significant Impact on the Brands I Choose," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "When in Store, Often Buy at Spur of Moment " and "Often Use the Internet to Help Plan My Shopping Trips," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Usually Only Shop at Favorite Stores Because They Have the Prices I Like" and "Shop Around A Lot To Take Advantage of Specials or Bargains," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Coupon Could Draw Me to a Store Where I Don't Usually Shop" and "Am Drawn to Stores I Normally Don't Shop at by Sales," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
  • Appendix II
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Shopping for Groceries Is a Bore," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Really Enjoy Cooking" and "The Kitchen Is the Most Important Room in My House," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Like to Try New Recipes" and "I Usually Refer to Recipes When Cooking," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Often Read the Recipes on the Food Products That I Buy" and "I Can Be Swayed by Coupons to Try New Products," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Like to Try Out New Food Products" and "I Am Usually the First of My Friends to Try New Food Products," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Prefer to Eat Foods Without Artificial Additives" and "When Shopping for Food, I Especially Look for Organic or Natural," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Usually Look for the Freshest Ingredients When I Cook" and "When Shopping for Food, I Make an Extra Effort to Buy Locally Grown," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Often Eat Store-Made, Pre-Cooked Meals" and "I Often Eat Frozen Dinners," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Simple, Easy to Prepare Foods Are My Favorites" and "Prefer Fast Food to Home Cooking," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Eat Several Small Meals Throughout the Day" and "Breakfast Is More Important Than Lunch or Dinner," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Lunch Is More Important Than Breakfast or Dinner" and "Dinner Is More Important Than Breakfast or Lunch," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Often Snack Between Meals" and "I Often Feel I Overeat," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Frequently Eat Sweets" and "Salted Snacks Are My Favorite," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Enjoy Eating Foreign Foods" and "I Try to Eat Gourmet Foods Whenever I Can," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Prefer Foods Cooked With Lots of Spices" and "Prefer the Taste of Food Without a Lot of Spices," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "I Like to Try New Drinks" and "I Often Drink Alcoholic Beverages at Restaurants," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Nutritional Value Is Most Important Factor in Which Foods I Eat" and "I Usually Am Quick to Try a New Nutritional Product," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Most of the Time, I Am Trying to Lose Weight by Dieting" and "Normally Count Calories of the Foods I Eat," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Try to Include Plenty of Fiber in My Diet" and "Usually Only Snack on Healthy Foods," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Most Snack Foods Are Not Healthy" and "Most Frozen Dinners Have Little Nutritional Value," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)
    • Table Psychographic Patterns by Channel or Retailer: "Nothing Wrong With Indulging in Fattening Foods From Time to Time" and "Eat the Foods I Like Regardless of Calories," 2016 (percent of and index among adults)

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