Whole Foods Faces a Whole New Image Problem


To think that just a couple of days ago, Whole Foods’ biggest problem was how to position itself as an elite supermarket for the non-elite! Today, the chain has a much bigger problem on its hands, as their once-stainless reputation has taken a hit after being named in a beef recall Friday. In fact, the meat sold at the stores was from one of the country’s more reputable suppliers, Coleman Natural Beef, a well-respected if not especially flavorful brand used in the past by the New York Burger Co. and lots of other places. But Coleman slipped and used a shady processing plant, and the results were undetected animolecules and a blow to Whole Foods’ image. But the chain should have eschewed the sale of prepackaged ground beef anyway; that’s not the way a progressive supermarket should do business. Hardly anyone ever gets sick from eating beef freshly ground by a supermarket butcher; it’s always from these processed-burger plants in the Great Plains. Maybe Whole Foods should have worried less about rock-sugar bars and more about selling meat the way you’re supposed to. You don’t need to be a citadel of Slow Food to sell fresh meat.

Recall Leads Whole Foods to a Change [NYT]

Related: Whole Foods Tries, and Fails, to Get Down With the People