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Whole Foods’ Slow Recovery Doesn’t Help Value Perception

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Wed, 13/04/2016 - 14:12
Whole Foods

Whole Foods’ consumer perception is slowly recovering from its June 2015 overcharging incident, but its value perception is still staying around crisis-time levels.

Whole Foods' perception levels were riding above the entire grocery sector until New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs accused the chain of overcharging. One month later in mid-July 2015, Whole Foods’ perception levels hit bottom, its lowest in at least three years. For the first time, Whole Foods garnered more negative feedback than positive.

Over the subsequent nine months through mid-April 2016, Whole Foods’ consumer perception scores have been slowly creeping back up, breaking into positive territory again at the end of November 2015. They are still, however, in the unaccustomed position of trailing the grocery sector average.

During the crisis period, Whole Foods’ value perception scores, already well below the grocery sector average, dropped even further and have barely progressed since then.

YouGov BrandIndex measured Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and the grocery sector with two scores: for perception, it used its Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" The chains were also measured with its Value score, which asked respondents "Does it give good value for what you pay?"

For both metrics, a score can range from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position.
Before the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs report in June 2015, Whole Foods’ Buzz score was hovering between 11 and 12, a few points higher than the grocery sector average. Rival Trader Joe scored approximately 20.

After the report, Whole Foods’ Buzz score went down to -9 on July 24th, and did not break back above zero until November 23rd. Whole Foods’ current Buzz score is 3, nearly 10 points below where it was pre-crisis, and six points below the current grocery sector average.

Whole Foods’ Value score was steady at -5 before the crisis, compared to the grocery sector average’s 13 score. Whole Foods dropped to -17 by the end of August 2015, and is only back up to -13 now.

Buzz: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Grocery Stores Sector
Buzz: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Grocery Stores Sector
Value: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Grocery Stores Sector
Value: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Grocery Stores Sector
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