Business
2:31 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

The Secrets Of Whole Foods

Originally published on Mon September 19, 2011 10:22 am

Fast Company visits a Whole Foods in Manhattan to explain how the store creates the illusion of freshness:

The prices for the flowers, as for all the fresh fruits and vegetables, are scrawled in chalk on fragments of black slate ... It's as if the farmer pulled up in front of Whole Foods just this morning, unloaded his produce, then hopped back in his flatbed truck to drive back upstate to his country farm. The dashed-off scrawl also suggests the price changes daily, just as it might at a roadside farm stand or local market. But in fact, most of the produce was flown in days ago, its price set at the Whole Foods corporate headquarters in Texas. Not only do the prices stay fixed, but what might look like chalk on the board is actually indelible; the signs have been mass-produced in a factory. ...

Then there's those cardboard boxes with anywhere from eight to ten fresh cantaloupes packed inside each one. These boxes could have been unpacked easily by any one of Whole Foods' employees, but they're left that way on purpose. Why? ... to reinforce the idea of old-time simplicity. ... In fact, it's one humongous cardboard box with fissures cut carefully down the side that faces consumers ... to make it appear as though this one giant cardboard box is made up of multiple stacked boxes.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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