I recently met Nick Davis, Regional Executive Chef for Whole Foods out of Colorado. He handles Whole Foods cuisine for a large portion of the West. For quite a while Nick has been pushing and approving new products and services based on street food. In my experience, the street is where some of the heartiest and most economical food can be found, and Nick agrees. From marvelous Oaxaca-style tamales in Mexico to crème brûlée in San Francisco, the “peasant food” offered by street vendors has increasing appeal to many people. Now several Whole Foods locations such as the Trolley Square Whole Foods in Salt Lake City are offering “street eats” as a restaurant-style service in the store as well as street food packages you can take out. Nick has been working on the menus for these products. Kudos to Nick and all the innovators at Whole Foods for recognizing the need to bring the street into the store. One more example of innovation based on understanding consumers and trends.
Whole Foods is a great place to go for market research in addition to enjoyable, quality food and other products. One can learn a lot about green packaging trends, innovations in flexible pouches, self-care products, organics, ingredients, and international cuisine. For many innovative areas, Whole Foods is consistently on the edge.