There is a new grocery store coming to a hipster area near you. Whole Foods Market announced plans to open 365 by Whole Foods Market, a new small store concept that is millennial-geared and a lower-cost version of its current grocery store chain in the U.S.
Whole Foods announced the five cities slated for the initial roll out in late 2016: Bellevue, Portland, Santa Monica, Los Angeles and Houston. What do they all have in common? Hipster populations. The first of the new chain of stores is in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, named America’s No. 1 hippest hipster neighborhood by Forbes. Additionally, these are all markets where Whole Foods currently has a presence.
A recent study by Sullivan Higdon & Sink, Our Plight to Eat Right, found that less than half (44%) of Americans say they are firmly committed to a healthy diet while 62% say it’s expensive to eat healthy, citing cost as a barrier. Will 365 by Whole Foods remove this barrier with lower price points and convenience to key neighborhoods? Perhaps. Christy Niebaum, senior FoodThink researcher at SHS, makes the point – “Americans are busy and they look for the easiest shortcut to reach their wellness goals while avoiding extreme changes. Our research continues to show us that certain food choices have an emotional impact on consumers, who will get overwhelmed if marketers don’t offer relevant and simple healthy eating advice.”
To be successful 365 stores may be required to go beyond the appeal of hipster Millennials and target a broader audience of cost-conscious consumers. Whatever the strategy, competitors and marketers alike will be watching very closely as stores roll out in 2016.