With Whole Foods Market opening on Sheridan Drive in Amherst Friday, shoppers will have yet another store trying to catch their attention. This will be the eighth grocery store in a 2-mile radius near Sheridan and Niagara Falls Boulevard.
The specialty grocer adds a new assortment of products, and also pumps up competition among area grocery stores. Both good things for local shoppers. Whole Foods business model taps into a growing demand for healthy and organic food options, and that demand will likely continue to grow, according to Debabrata Talukdar, a professor in the marketing department of University at Buffalo's School of Management.
"I think it's more than a fad," he explained. "The only question is not whether it will stick around, it will definitely. The only question is the pace at which it will grow."
In the short-term, other grocery stores like Aldi, Tops and Wegmans might take a small hit, but over time the growing industry and customer push for organic will likely benefit each of these stores, according to Talukdar.
"Even though Whole Foods will be a key player, the other supermarkets will continue to enjoy a healthy share of the market," he said. "The grocery market in the Buffalo area is going to grow. Particularly the organic section."