Whole Foods Market (WFM) , colloquially known as "Whole Paycheck," has been declining in same store traffic for some time now. Facing competition from every direction, both online and in-store from major grocers, the company has closed nine stores due to poor sales. In addition, the retail space remains challenged, and may be more so going forward as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, which historically has led to slowing sales at retailers.
To add insult to injury, Whole Foods has lost between 9 to 14 million customers over the last six quarters, Barclays analyst Karen Short estimated in a new note on Monday.
However, Whole Foods has a trick up its sleeve that has not been getting the publicity it deserves — its more inexpensive in-house brand called 365, which features lower prices than the usual Whole Foods fare. The generic pricing on organic products could be enough to get people in the door, paired with people's inherent distaste for shopping at other grocers like Kroger (KR - Get Report) , Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM - Get Report) and Natural Grocers (NGVC - Get Report) .
In today's digitally saturated world, grocery shopping is a short reprieve from screen time and thereby nearly hedonistic in nature. Grocery stores can be stressful, and if you're going to have to wait in long lines with the rest of the tired population, you want to be in a carefully curated and aesthetically pleasing environment. Thanks to social media, Millennials want everything to feel like an experience, and if you're subjecting yourself to the banalities of grocery shopping, then it might as well be in a space you don't hate yourself for occupying.
"I'm a fan, Millennials immediately head to Trader Joe's, because they believe the price is a better sell, but I have found the 365 brand to be as equally affordable and better quality," wrote David Manzler, 25, in an email to TheStreet. "The minimal packaging makes it easy to find allowing for a much better overall shopping experience."
In short, never underestimate Millennials' ability to embrace a curated experience. The aesthetic power and reputation of Whole Foods is stronger than the current numbers are showing and could spring back by WFM highlighting the brand's lower prices like some of the following products that have been pinpointed by Cheapism.
According to Cheapism, 365 brand non-dairy almond milk rings in around $1.99 a pop, more inexpensive than Safeway and the same price as Trader Joe's (sans the line that wraps around the entire store).
A jar of non-organic 365 Everyday Value was $7.98 for 33.8 ounces, while Safeway Signature Select was $11.99 according to Cheapism. $4 is a big difference considering the amount of olive oil households use in cooking.
At $6.99 for 14 ounces, WFM beats Safeway by a dollar. And what's the use of pretentiously using organic coconut oil if you can't say it came from Whole Foods?
The lazy person's salad dressing that also is used in perpetuity is only $2.99 for a 16.9-ounce bottle at Whole Foods and $7.99 for 8.5 ounces at Safeway.
An 8-ounce bottle of 365 Everyday Value organic yellow mustard cost $1.49 versus $1.99 at Safeway. Organic spices and jam were also notably cheaper.