Whole Foods was once the most popular place to go for all things healthy and organic, but it seems that many shoppers are expanding their horizons — and reeling in savings — by shopping elsewhere. One of the nation’s most popular big-box retailers, Costco, has stepped up their organic offerings and consumers are definitely taking notice.
For the last three years, Costco has managed to outdo other conventional retailers when it comes to the sale of organic produce. And in 2015, the wholesaling giant’s $4 billion in organic sales surpassed Whole Foods, which reported only $3.5 billion.
Costco’s organic sales are growing so rapidly, that in 2016 the retailer announced that they would be pursuing an initiative to help their farmers purchase more land, so they can grow more organic food. CEO Craig Jelinek reportedly told investors, “We cannot get enough organics to stay in business day in and day out.”
On the other hand, Whole Foods continues to encounter difficulties of a different sort. While Costco is doing their best to keep with extremely high demand, Whole Foods has hit what the Chicago Tribune reportedly described as their “worst sales slump in more than a decade.”
After six consecutive quarters of same-store declines, Whole Foods was forced to close the doors of nine different stores.
Whole Foods has also been host to more than its fair share of scandals. For example, in 2016, Mike Adams reported on how the business was supporting Monsanto’s plans to obfuscate proper GMO labeling laws.
Whole Foods’ current decline and their reprehensible behavior lie in stark contrast with Costco. Assistant Vice President and General Merchandise Manager Heather Shavey says that Costco had been preparing for their rise to the top of the organic marketplace for more than five years. Shavey notes that while many retailers thought organics were nothing more than a passing trend, Costco chose to invest in the clean food market.