Fresh & Easy, Ralphs, Trader Joes, Sprouts, and Whole Foods investigated.
Fresh & Easy: A new grocery store to Southern California, this market focuses on providing fresh, no-brand produce at extremely low prices. They are able to accommodate these low prices by maintaining a simple store with eco-friendly lights and self-checkout counters. Stores are conveniently located and easy to navigate through. Shopping here is quick and efficient and the staff are extremely friendly. http://www.freshandeasy.com
Trader Joes: A hippie grocery market chain throughout the US, it prides itself in selling both the basics (milk, apples, bread…) and gourmet food (handtossed pizza from Italy) at reasonable prices. The fun and upbeat environment encourages its customers to try something new with a 100% return guarantee. http://www.traderjoes.com
Ralphs: The largest chain in the OC, Ralphs has everything a customer needs. Selling basics and all top-brand products, the aisles are always fully stocked. Customer cards give special savings everyday and allow for discounts on future purchases. However, the impersonal shopping experience and sterile atmosphere is unattractive for most and typically remains as a back-up for most shoppers. http://www.ralphs.com/Pages/default.aspx
Sprouts Farmers Market: A fairly new market to the California area, Sprouts proudly sells farm fresh produce (purchased local when possible) and provides most goods in bulk form (to cut prices for customers). With a huge market of vitamins and supplements, this is great spot for healthy eating. http://sprouts.com/home.php
Whole Foods: The world’s leader in natural and organic foods, with over 250 stores in the US and UK. They seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture. Great for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and cooking up gourmet meals at home. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/
Out of all the options in Orange County, Sprouts and Whole Foods is the closest to what the OC Food Co-op will offer. But what makes this cooperative stand out? Its mission to work with the community and create a network with neightbors and workers. Its pledge to improve the current society in southern california through the food sold at the co-op and the shopping environment makes it unique against all other grocery stores.
The OC Food Co-op will provide the diversity of the larger grocery stores (such as Ralphs) with the quality that is provided at smaller niche grocery stores (such as Sprouts). The Co-op will truly be a store of the community. It will alter its inventory based on member demand, catering to the desires of its member community. Differentiating itself by focusing on quality products that are ecologically conscious and by making food economically accessible.