Admittedly, I am a Whole Foods shopper. My relationship with Whole Foods dates back to before the company acquired the Fresh Fields chain in the '90s. But most people probably don't know that Whole Foods actually was born in 1974 in New Orleans as a one-store business called Whole Food Company. It's grown from one store to more than 430 locations employing more than 90,000.
But with the expansion of "health food," organic products, gluten free items and the like, Whole Foods is facing unprecedented competitive challenges, not only from other supermarket chains, but from smaller specialty companies and larger retail outlets. Small formats like MOM's Organic Market and Sprouts, as well as businesses as large as Kroger, Costco and Walmart, are consuming some of Whole Foods' share of the organic food market.