Attention fellow young people! Whole Foods (known to your grumpy, vegetarian parents as “Whole Paycheck”) plans to open a separate chain with cheaper items for the under-35 crowd, because we are so stinkin’ poor. (The company hasn’t disclosed the name yet, but my money’s on Half Foods.)
Hadley Malcolm of USA Today reports:
Co-CEO Walter Robb said the stores will have “modern, streamlined design, innovative technology and a curated selection.” And while they’ll be aimed at Millennials, Robb said the stores will appeal “to anyone looking for high-quality fresh food at great prices.”
Whole Foods is already negotiating leases for the new format and the stores will start opening next year. But executives declined to give details about where and how many, saying more information would come by Labor Day.
Whole Foods is just the latest corporate food giant looking to appeal to the well-educated, dirt-poor, and exceptionally picky millennial generation: Panera dropped artificial ingredients, Chipotle is removing GMOs, and McDonalds is testing kale breakfast bowls. These initiatives often backfire, however, as young consumers argue that the corporations base the changes on money rather than science and health.
Cheaper fresh food is a necessity for the health of any population — young and old — and especially in urban environments with little access to fresh groceries. So the stores certainly could be helpful. But what most millennials crave (and most neighborhoods need) are small, local businesses that not only offer those items at reasonable prices, but also pay decent wages and keep the money in the community.
Would a discount Whole Foods appeal to this poor, picky millennial? Cheap is exciting! So is organic! But big corporate anything? I’d give it a: