Everyone wants to sell to Whole Foods Market.

At least in my world of consumer products, most companies I come across who sell food and are not selling to Whole Foods Market, want to.

I admit that Whole Foods Market has a great reputation and associating with them as vendors can elevate their brand to consumers

But that is about the best reason I can come up with selling to Whole Foods Market.

And I have many reasons to not sell to Whole Foods Market:

  1. They are regionally focused, so you have to sell each region to get in;
  2. Each region has their own political dynamics, so you have to spend a lot of time getting to know that region and your buyers, which is time-consuming;
  3. You then have to sell each store, which is time-consuming;
  4. Even if you are killing it in other stores, that does not necessarily motivate prospective stores to bring you in;
  5. Whole Foods Market does not have thousands of locations nationwide: they are considered a small chain and if you do the math, even getting into all their stores, you will not sell that much;
  6. They are no longer the largest sellers of natural and organic products.

You’re better off not pinning the success of your company on Whole Foods Market.

For that matter, don’t focus on selling to anyone in the natural channel, because like Whole Foods Market, they are difficult to sell into and the channel is very fragmented.

You are much better off positioning your company to sell into grocery, drug, mass, club and possible supplement channels, in addition to selling direct-to-consumer.