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When the Publix grocery store chain (which started in Florida and has recently expanded throughout the southeastern United States) introduced its GreenWise organic concept a decade ago, it took a multi-pronged approach. It added some GreenWise products to its regular stores, but it also opened a few dedicated GreenWise stores. The prediction was that it would continue along these lines, but instead, it stayed where it was for a while.

That has changed now, as Publix announced the opening of the fourth GreenWise store and its “reignited” effort to scout out other possible locations. In the announcement, Publix acknowledged that its previous attempts did not quite live up to expectations, but through its experience, lessons learned, and customer feedback, it predicts its success this time around.

Although the organic market has grown, some big names in the organic grocery sector, including Whole Foods, have suffered several quarters of declining sales. In this sense, the GreenWise expansion could be a case of either ill-timed shortsightedness or a perfectly timed opportunity. Whole Foods and other high-end organic grocers have gained a reputation for being expensive, such that consumers seemingly are turning to their conventional stores, which offer some organic options at a lower cost. But perhaps the struggles signal that consumers are not quite as interested in organic options as might be anticipated.

Discussion Question:

  1. Who are GreenWise’s major competitors?
  2. How will GreenWise’s expansion affect the market for grocery products?

 Source: George Anderson, Retail Wire, April 4, 2017