Whole Foods shares are getting crushed after earnings.
The company reported record second quarter sales that still were below investors’ expectations, and shares were down as much as 10% in after hours trade on Wednesday.
This past weekend at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders’ meeting this past weekend, CEO Warren Buffett singled out the company, saying that that the customers there simply don’t seem like a happy bunch.
In response to questions about holding investments in companies that make foods high in sugar (like Coca-Cola,) while consumers’ diets shift towards healthier options, Buffett said (via Bloomberg): “I don’t see smiles on the faces of people at Whole Foods.”
Here’s some more colour on what Buffett said, according to Time:
“Food and beverage companies will adjust to the expressed preferences of consumers. No company does well ignoring its consumers.
“It’s amazing how durable [consumer brands are]. Berkshire Hathaway was the largest shareholder of General Foods from 1981 to 1984 — that’s 30-plus years ago. It was bought by Philip Morris and spun out as Kraft. Those same brands are popular today. Heinz goes back to 1869. The ketchup came out in the 1870s. Coca-Cola dates to 1886. It’s a pretty good bet that a lot of people will like the same things.”
Whole Foods is popular for its fresh and organic food options.
But Buffett is unapologetic for his junk food habits and the amount of coke he drinks.
He recently added Kraft Foods to his portfolio, the maker of Velveeta cheese, Oreos, and others.
And as his vice chairman and long time business partner Charlie Munger quipped: “Sugar is an enormously helpful substance. It prevents premature softening of the arteries.”