Whole Foods' Orange Controversy

Whole Foods OrangesWhole Foods is selling pre-peeled, plastic-packaged oranges and has been criticized for it. The company touts sustainability measures, including, according to its mission statement, "reduced or reusable packaging, as well as encouraging shoppers to reduce waste through our 'nickel per bag' rebate program."

The tweet, at left, shows the company's decision, and a representative told Huffington Post, "a lot of our customers love the convenience of our cut produce offerings, but this was a simple case where a handful of stores experimented with a seasonal product spotlight that wasn't fully thought through. We're glad some customers pointed it out so we could take a closer look."

But people didn't like the decision to pull the oranges either. Some said they were useful for people with arthritis and other physical limitations. 

Whole Foods is struggling because of lower-cost organic sellers, such as Costco. Last year, the company was criticized for selling asparagus spears in a bottle of water for $5.99. This product was also pulled.

Discussion Starters: 

  • What's your view of the pre-packaged orange? Is this a good product, does it contradict Whole Foods' mission, or both? 
  • Did Whole Foods act hastily in pulling the product? Consider the company's decision process.