After dabbling in the natural foods arena for two years, Supervalu's Sunflower Market stores have not met company expectations. The Minneapolis-based company is shuttering its five Sunflower Markets this month. Three are located in the Columbus, Ohio area, and the other stores are in Chicago and Indianapolis.
Sunflower Markets had in-store bakeries with products supplied by French Meadow Baking Co. The bakery products featured natural, organic or vegan ingredients. Artisan breads, cookies and scones were produced using par-baked doughs and frozen batters; brownies, bars, cakes and other sweetgoods were primarily thaw-and-sell products.
The company positioned its brand in the highly competitive natural and organic food market as the less-expensive option with smaller stores that were easier for customers to shop. At one point, Supervalu had planned to open as many as 50 Sunflower Markets by 2011. Despite the booming healthful food market, the stores did not meet Supervalu's goals, according to Supervalu representative Haley Meyer, who was quoted in the Columbus Dispatch. She said the company will apply what it learned from the Sunflower experience elsewhere in the organization.