The American food giant, which opened a gargantuan supermarket in the old Barker's building on Kensington High Street in 2007, has found the London food market a little tougher to chow down than expected. The company's UK branch lost £35.9 million last year, as they discovered converting people to an ethically sound and organically certified diet wasn't an easy task, no matter how many Healthy Eating fairs you hold. Britain's competitive supermarket industry and that danged recession won't have helped, nor will reports like the recent one by the Food Standards Agency which quashed the oft-quoted shibboleth that organic food has nutritional benefits. Whole Foods aren't about to cut and run from the dinner table, though: despite reports that the company feel they badly miscalculated when leasing such large premises with no car parking nearby, founder John Mackey is committed to opening more stores in London. Satellite branches, including now-rebranded Fresh & Wild stores in local communities including Camden and Stoke Newington, have fared better, and they could be a blueprint for future success.
Last Updated 03 August 2009