Tips for researching Whole Foods and the Grocery Retailing Industry

The BA 470J students are currently researching Whole Foods and the Grocery Retail Industry. This post lists some tips to help them with their research.

First, if you are doing any sort of industry research, you should definitely take a look at the resources mentioned in the Industry Research Basics Guide.  Also,  for researching a company, take a look at the resources in the Company Research Basics Guide.   However, regardless of what you do, make sure you check out the resources listed below, as they all definitely have excellent information that you can use.  Note that this guide is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather list some highly recommended sources for this industry.

Mintel Oxygen

A search in Mintel Oxygen for “organic” yields reports such as

  • Consumer Attitudes Toward Natural and Organic Food and Beverage – US – March 2010
  • Organic Food – US – October 2008
  • Organic Food and Drink Retailing – US – November 2009

A search for “grocery” yields reports such as

  • Grocery Store Retailing – US – January 2010

The reports in Mintel average about 100 pages in length, so you’re sure to find some good stuff there.

Passport GMID

In Passport GMID, use the link on the left to Consumer Markets, then use the dropdown menus and Check boxes to select what you need.  Look for items items under relevant product categories.  As an example, the image below shows some relevant categories.  GMID contains some great data, and can be a little intimidating to use.  For a little guidance, check out this video on the basics of GMID.

Sample product categories in Passport GMID

International Directory of Company Histories

International Directory of Company Histories has extensive coverage of the history of  Whole Foods.  You will want to look in volumes 20, 50, and 110 for the complete story of Whole Foods.  This book series (yes, a book!!) is not only good for understanding the company, but also for getting general information and history of the industry.  For other companies, take a look at the cumulative index in the most recent volume of the series (the one with the highest number).

IbisWorld Industry Market Research

IbisWorld is easily our most popular industry research database.   Once you are in the database, a search for “grocery” yields reports such as:

  • Grocery Wholesaling in the US – 42241
  • Supermarkets & Grocery Stores in the US – 44511
  • Warehouse Clubs & Supercenters in the US – 45291
  • Convenience Stores in the US – 44512

Please note that students often tend to over-rely on IbisWorld. I put together guides like this one so you know that there are other sources that you should definitely use  as well.

Business Source Complete

In Business Source Complete you will find a number of really good trade publications from the Grocery Retailing industry.  Trade Publications are written by people in an industry, for people in that industry.  Many of the reports from the sources above rely heavily on trade publications for their information.  That is because trade publications give you a first-hand account of what is going on in an industry.  To find trade publications on your own, simply do a search for your topic in Business Source Complete  and limit your results to trade publications.  The image below demonstrates how.

Limit by Source Types to retrieve Trade Publications