When Whole Foods Market opened its first Chicago shop in 1993, direct competition was minimal. Jewel-Osco, Dominick’s and some natural-food stores sold organic fare, but none of them could offer the wide range of organic and natural products that Whole Foods had on its shelves. In 2015, however, the landscape has changed, with Mariano’s, Heinen’s, The Fresh Market and even traditional food chains meeting market demands by offering a wider variety of local, organic and better-for-you goods.
While other retailers may offer some specialty, organic items, Whole Foods won’t stock produts that contain artifical colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners. Eggs, whether sold or used in baked goods, are always from cage-free backgrounds. To be sold on the shelves, a product must be free of high-fructose corn syrup. “No one has our level of passion in what we do,” says Whole Food Midewest Regional President Michael Bashaw.
To better differentiate its chains in Chicago from the regional competition, Whole Foods will be focusing on six rotating varieties of bacon, which is sourced from a farm that uses no cages, crates, overcrowding, antibiotics or hormones. In addition, it will continue to use its Responsibly Grown rating program to give consumers a better idea of how produce was grown, reports Chicago Tribune.