Is Vegan the New Black?

Within modern society, new fads come and go like clock-work. The latest one seems to be a health craze running rampant and comprising, in large part, of vegan and vegetarian choices. A survey in 2011 discovered “5% of Americans never eat meat” and “33% of Americans were eating vegetarian or vegan meals more often”. Although data suggests this is not a simple trend that will disappear anytime soon, the question lies in whether or not it will stick around enough to be taken advantage of.

Currently, one company in particular has taken notice and is now looking to fulfill the new demand by expanding its business. Organic Avenue, a vendor of high-end juices, salads, and other specialty foods, is attempting to become a national chain. The company has hired a new chief executive, Martin Bates, to take the reins and lead the Organic Avenue charge to the “promised land”. Bates has had proven success by being one of the leading forces behind the resurgence of “Pret a Manger”, a food franchise, in 2008. Pret a Manger’s turnabout was achieved by tweaking the products and services it provided to the tastes of the consumers’.

Project management will always be essential if companies hope to achieve the success they dream of. In order for Organic Avenue to have success, Bates’ strategy is to form partnerships with gyms, fitness clubs, high-end retailers, and open its own chain of stores as well, to supply the company’s products. One can quickly establish attention is focused on the availability and marketing of the product. Organic and healthy products could be considered to be in their introduction stage, and a tremendous of work must be exerted in order to reach the maturity stage.

Organic Avenue understands its customer base and target market; “people who want food that’s better for them”. It would be a mistake for the company to undermine consumers who simply want healthier products and focus attention on “hardcore” vegetarians or vegans. Currently, Organic Avenue is more known for juices and juice cleanses, but its other products must also be brought to light. The company also provides food (salads, soups, entrees, and snacks) and packages (Booster Packs, Immunity Essentials, and “2-Day Transition” to name a few).

Most people demonstrate xenophobia (fear of the unknown), and the switch to organic/healthy foods seems to be no exception to the rule. Society has an idea of why organic foods are better, but the media constantly manipulates our ideas and leaves people unable to distinguish fact from fiction.

Are organic and fresh foods worth the extra money or do they not provide the bang for our buck?

Will Organic Avenue need to create a new line of products or will alterations to current ones draw news consumers?

More importantly, will people be accepting of the change from fast/junk food to healthier options will people be accepting of the change from fast/junk food to healthier options?




Whole Foods Taking Over

Whole foods is probably the most well known company for selling organic products.  The companies strategy of selling natural foods has paid off and they have grown into an impressive organization.  The company is growing so large that it has been looking for smaller organic only companies to acquire.  Whole Foods recently had a merger with Wild Oates, a competing organic only store.  Although this may be a good thing for whole foods and advocates of all natural diets, it may hurt the farmers that have been supplying the smaller stores.  Because of Whole Food’s rapid growth they plan to consolidate their suppliers so that their supply chain will be more efficient.  This will mean that some of the farmers providing organic products will be dropped and they will not have another market to supply.  This would be very costly to these farmers because they most likely have dedicated much of their lives to their farm and a career change may not be an option.  Many people support organic products not only for the health benefits, but also for the benefit that it provides to small farms.  It makes them feel good to know exactly where their food came from and grew it.  They also feel good that they are contributing to the farmers livelihood.  Organizations like the Organic Monitor are worried that the lack of competition that whole foods faces will mean that many farmers may be out of work.

Instead of maintaining the many relationships that they now have with suppliers, whole foods wants to stream line and go with a few long term suppliers.  The fewer competitors that Whole Foods has the more power they have to choose who they buy from.  If they think a farmers prices are too high then they can just move on to the next farmer.  That farmer will have no one to sell to and other farmers will be competing for whole foods business.  Advocates of organic food are concerned that Whole Foods is monopolizing the natural foods market.  They are worried about the effect on the suppliers and also about smaller organic food stores. Whole Foods’ strategy may ultimately lower the price of organic foods and make it more widely available.  The could mean that it may be beneficial as a whole for our country, but it may hurt some smaller communities.  Would it be worth sacrificing some farms to make organic food more affordable and accessible? How could Whole Foods make their supply chains more efficient while still maintaining all of it current suppliers?  Would the opening of more organic food stores solve this problem by increasing competition for suppliers? Could the consolidation of suppliers compromise the quality of organic products or would it make them more reliable?