Is Whole Foods Trying Too Hard?

The Lempert Report
April 21, 2016

They now have a food truck...

Or come up with every idea they can and see what sticks? They now have a food truck serving lunch outside its headquarters in Austin Texas. 

According to Roaming Hunger, approximately 4,500 food trucks currently operate in the U.S., up 197% from the 2011-2013 period.  

They currently reach just about half of the nation’s population, according to a recent survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.  This means immense opportunity lies ahead to convert much of the remaining half to food truck dining.

The nation’s food truck sales continue to ramp up steadily.  Separate data from Emergent Research, IBISWorld and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) corroborate the relatively sharp growth of this foodservice sector.  

Food trucks will generate about $2.7 billion, or between 3% and 4% of total restaurant revenue, by 2017 – a fourfold increase from its 2012 level, predicts Emergent Research, a research and consultancy focused on the surging small business sector in the U.S.

No question it's a trend, but what does Whole Foods want to have? A fleet of foods trucks nationwide? Or garner intelligence from those customers to fine tune their offerings? Or just another ego move to help their brand?

Whole Foods has lost nearly half of its stock value since February 2015. They recently announced 365 – a chain  of cheaper, millennial-focused stores to combat Aldi and Lidl and hopefully shake that whole paycheck image. But the marketplace is volatile as just last week Trader Joe’s announced its plan to lower its prices even more, especially in those areas where there are Whole Foods stores.

They’ll need more than just one food truck to impress Wall Street these days.