Organic Natural Food Retailers

Table of Content

Whole foods Market is one of the largest and most successful organic natural food retailers in the world. The success of this retail giant did not happen overnight. Whole Foods was the idea of a twenty five year old college dropout named John Mackey and his girlfriend Rene Lawson Hardy. Their mission was to open an all-natural and organic food store with the promise of healthy food for a healthier life. In 1978 the two began their venture with a small health food store named SafeWay. In two year’s time Mackey and Lawson partnered with Craig Weller and Mark Skiles to merge SafeWay and another local natural food store in Austin Texas, employing only 19 people. (“Whole foods market,” 2012) John Mackey realized his passion was finally coming to fruition when he had said, “that having had a natural food conversion he wanted to share it with others.” (Patoski, 2006) This vision has now brought Whole Foods to recently celebrate their 30th anniversary. During these 30 years Whole Foods has stayed true to their mission of supporting and providing an equitable work environment for their employees, providing superior quality products for their customers, and embracing their commitment to sustainable agriculture.

The driving force behind Whole Foods huge success is that they are goal oriented and passionate about their mission. Every employee from CEO’s to the store employee’s function under a set of shared beliefs that are put into practice with the assistance from the business model known as P.L.O.C. P.L.O.C. is made up of four components that are essentially management tools to create a cohesive structured and well planned organization.

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The first component of P.L.O.C. is planning. Planning is the process of setting performance objectives and determining what actions should be taken to accomplish them. The second is the component organizing. Organizing is the process of setting and assigning tasks and coordinating the activities of individuals or group within an organization. The third P.L.O.C. component is leading. Leading is the process of creating an atmosphere that promotes a strong work ethic through shared enthusiasm, positivity, and productivity. The last component of the P.L.O.C. model is controlling. Controlling involves establishing performance standards based on the company’s objectives and evaluating and reporting job performance.

It’s no secret that Whole Foods is a very successful company. It is also quite clear that their success is due in large part to their partnering of both their effective use of P.L.O.C. management and their core values. Whole Foods has a motto which captures their purpose as an organization. Their motto being Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet, along with their use of P.L.O.C. these components has been the foundation to their success. The Whole Foods piece of the model refers to the highest quality, the least processed and the most naturally preserved foods. The Whole People stands for recruiting quality personnel who hold the same belief and passion about food as well as a desire to be a part of a team culture. Whole Planet signifies the company’s social responsibility by actively being committed to supporting organic farming and agriculture, and being aware of and caring for the world around them. . (“Whole foods market,” 1997) Whole Foods has strong core values, among them are offering only the highest quality of natural and organic products available; ensuring customers satisfaction and delight; enhancing the happiness and excellence of the human resources; generating wealth through profit and growth; showing care for the environment and communities; establishing a “win-win” alliance with suppliers; and teaching stakeholders how to improve their health through proper eating education. (“Whole foods Market’s,” 2012)

Whole Foods is known throughout the entire food industry for being an exceptional company to work for. Promoting happiness and excellence among their employees is one of their core values. In addition, Whole Foods is an organization that successfully utilizes the P.L.O.C model which has allowed them to establish superior recruitment strategies. The company recruits a specific kind of employee, one who wants to be a part of their team and who shares the same core values. Their employees are empowered by and invested in the company by being given decision making capabilities, a respectful work place, and felling that they are supported, valued and that their hard work and commitment to excellence is recognized.

Whole Foods has a team motto mentality. Every employee is a part of a team that meets regularly and collaborates, discusses, and decides on issues regarding the work place and employee will being. The belief that every voice is valuable has helped create an atmosphere that is open and positive. Beginning on the highest rung of the company ladder to an individual store employee, decisions are shared by all. This has been an enormous motivator for the employees at Whole Foods because unlike other retail food stores employees actually have a say and are instrumental in ensuring the future of the company. They are held up as being as important as their customers and their opinions are valued. (Kammeyer)

Whole Foods has been named one of the top companies to work for by CNN Money. (Walker, 2012) Compared to other retailers who struggle to pay their employees the minimum wage, Whole Foods doubles it paying their employees an average of $15 dollars and hour. CEO Walter Robb, who joined the company in 2010, stated that he “wishes he could pay his employees even more.” (Blodget, 2012) This is an annual salary that hits just short from being able to supporting a family in most parts of the county. Whole Foods also stands by their vision to be a shared market with their employees, they have set a cap on all salaries company wide. No employee from a team member up to an executive will receive any more than 19 times the company wide annual salary. When the majority CEO’s of large corporations, average a rate of 231 times the regular working person. Whole Foods caps salaries as a way to ensure equity and trust among all. (Kannal, 9 14)

Whole Foods is an open book, with nothing to hide. Any financial information from every employee starting from a “Team Member” to a CEO is disclosed to the public, their job title and wages from each title can be found at the job and anyone can look it up on if they wanted to find out. Whole Foods believes in the practice of “open people, open book, open door.” (Whole Foods Market, 2012) An innovative practice John Mackey believed it would “stop envy in human nature at work.” (cite)

Whole Foods employees allotted affordable to no cost benefits such as medical, dental, vision, personal wellness, healthcare and dependent care reimbursement, life and disability insurance, 401K retirement savings, paid time off, gainsharing, Team Member discounts, Team Member emergency plan, and stock options that are given and may also be purchased. All employees are encouraged every three years to engage in a companywide vote for the companies “Team Members” health and benefit package. This allows them to recognize exactly what their needs are and establish a benefit package that supports those needs. Whole Foods doesn’t believe in a one size fits all package. (Blodget, 2012)

When it comes to stock ownership of Whole Foods 96 percent of their stock is held by Team Member or non-executive employees. The remaining amount is held by top executives. The philosophy that Whole Foods holds is the customer comes first, then the Team Members, and then the stockholders. (Sacks, 2009)

Whole Foods philosophy is that, “the most important stakeholders are our customers.” The satisfaction of Whole Foods customers is extremely important to everyone in the company. Once again Whole Food combines the tenets of P.L.O.C. and the core values of supporting the health and well-being of all people to stock their stores with the highest quality organic and natural foods. John Mackey refers to the theory of customers being the true lifeline of a business as “Conscious Capitalism,” (a phrase he has trademarked) instead of only focusing on the gain of the business profit wise, focus on the purpose. (Sacks, 2009) Putting more of the focus on the philosophy of Whole Foods keeps customer happy and returning to experience the main reason why they started shopping there in the first place. Whole Foods has unquestionably changed the way people buy and eat food. In this down turning economy Whole Foods wants to keep their customers loyal and on track to continuing to eat naturally, healthy and organically. They have added coupons directly on their website that can be printed from your own computer, or even picked up from any local Whole Foods store. Once again the Whole Foods organization aims to keep their customers happy by providing affordable, delicious food.

Whole Foods takes their commitment to balance their needs of people with their needs of the planet very seriously. They recognize that they as global citizens, they must practice sound environmental stewardship. Whole Foods is known for being a respected company and has been awarded the Achievement Award from the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as being ranked 5th on the top 50 Green Power Partners list. (“Green mission”) ( Whole Foods does this by emphasizing and upholding the importance of the 3 R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. By following these R’s Whole Foods has reduced their landfill waste by 75 percent. A method Whole Food uses to avoid waste was to put a ban on using plastic bags, only using reusable bags or paper bags that can be recycled. To encourage their customers to bring in their own bags a nickel is refunded towards each full purchase. (“Green mission”) In 2002 Whole Foods became the first retailer to introduce solar energy as their power source, this made them the only Fortune 500 Company to purchase wind power and set off 100 percent of their energy cost. (Kannal, 9 14) Another contribution to the environment was selling organic produce, meats and materials, their vision used to reduce waste by the farmers they are purchasing from. Whole Foods also gives back to the community locally and to other countries by establishing the Whole Foods Foundation, a non for profit established by Whole Foods. Donations are received by online giving, mail, or at the checkout counter.

The challenge that Whole Food may face in the future is the completion from other stores looking to grow and hold the same quality natural and organic products as they do. Another factor is the rising cost in produce and natural foods. Whole Foods must continue to use those core values that they built their empire from to rise above the others, by building strong partnership with local farmers and continuing to stay innovative within their stores management structure.

A Whole Food is an incredible organization. Not only do they care about the food they sell, the customers they provide for, and the world in which they live. They are also deeply committed to a future in which not just local communities but the world at large benefits from the practice in healthy eating that has become their trademark for the past 30 years. Whole Foods high quality innovative personnel, careful planning, management strategies and systems, and incredible dedication manage to secure their place in a highly competitive retail world and from the looks of things they are not going anywhere soon.

Blodget, H. (2012, September 14). Whole foods ceo: Here’s why we pay our employees more than we have to . Retrieved from Green mission. (n.d.). Retrieved from Kammeyer. [Web log message]. Retrieved from Foods Market.pdf Kannal, C. (9 14). Retrieved from Patoski, J. (2006, September 27). Whole foods market, inc. history. Retrieved from Sacks, D. (2009, December 1). John mackey. Retrieved from Walker, J. (2012, February 6). Cnn money. Retrieved from Whole foods market history . (2012). Retrieved from Whole Foods Market History | Whole Foods Market.” Whole Foods Market History | Whole Foods Market. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2012. Whole foods market. (1997). Retrieved from Whole Foods Market. (2012). Our mission our culture. Retrieved from Whole foods market’s core values. (2012). Retrieved from

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Organic Natural Food Retailers. (2016, Aug 09). Retrieved from

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