Whole Foods gets serious about partying
Whole Foods shoppers preparing to party will soon be able to pick up not just food, but everything else they need at the Amazon-owned grocer.
The natural and organic foods chain is partnering with a party supplies startup called Packed Party to build out a full section of the type of product one would find at a picnic, cookout or birthday celebration, according to Fast Company. The six-year-old startup’s offerings, which includes cupcake kits, banners and drinkware, have a distinct branded look and feel. The products they offer at Whole Foods will all be recyclable.
Packed Party is a direct-to-consumer brand founded in Austin, TX. The brand’s website shows an array of products that are both more distinctive and more pricey than analogous items at other party supplies store. A stack of designed-out cups from Packed Party, for instance, runs $16, while a 50-count stack of the plain red plastic cups so familiar to party goers runs $5.99 on the Party City website. Other premium products include a $38 confetti bucket bag.
The price point on Whole Foods’ new party products won’t be out of kilter with its other offerings, though. Despite attempts by Amazon to reduce the perception of high prices that has dogged Whole Foods for years, the chain remains the most expensive grocer in the U.S. as of this year, according to a Merrill Lynch study.
The Packed Party relationship could put Whole Foods in direct competition with established specialty chains like Party City and with general retailers that sell similar product lines such as Target. It could also compete with the Amazon mothership itself, given that Amazon’s private label AmazonBasics line contains products like plastic utensils.
Party City, for its part, appears to be thriving, despite the announcement of the impending closure of 45 stores this year, a bump up from the usual 10 to 15. Many experts received the announcement as a positive for the chain, an indication that management is focusing on maintaining profitability. Analysts say that acquisitions from throughout the space since 2007 have led to over-storing for the Party City brand.
Editor’s correction: Packed Party clarified that the disposable cups that will be available in the Whole Foods x Packed Party exclusive collection will retail at $4.95, not at $16 like the ones for general sale on the Packed Party website.
- Whole Foods wants to help decorate your next party – Fast Company
- Drinkware – Packed Party
- Big Party Pack Tableware – Party City
- Study says Whole Foods is the priciest grocer of them all – RetailWire
- Why is Party City closing profitable stores? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How likely is Whole Foods’ affiliation with Packed Party be a success for both parties? What steps might Amazon be planning to leverage the Whole Foods and Packed Party relationship relative to its Prime members?