What. A. Business. Deal. Amazon has taken Whole Foods under its techno savvy wing. The story broke in the New York Times, the national newspaper led by the husband of the Whole Foods Board Chair. Whole Foods was beginning to experience intense competition from other grocers that are offering more affordable healthy foods for customers.
Your regular grocer now probably at least has a frozen foods section of “whole foods” or a few “organic bananas” next to the regular bananas. Whole fooding is becoming more mainstream. However, don’t get me wrong, fast fooding is still very much a thing. As a devoted WF customer, the question I ask is what will Amazon bring to the table? How is my shopping experience going to change? I’m excited about the tech opportunities, but am not excited if it is at the expense of jobs, which Amazon says will not happen.
Other detractors from my current Whole Foods experience? Intense Sunday hangry crowds (stay tuned for details on the biology of hangry in a future post!). Paper stickers on the bottom of my prepared foods that are supposed to be placed in the oven – fire anyone? Long checkout lines. Fewer and fewer baggers available. If I’m paying $86 for one leaf of lettuce, the least the store could do is bag it for me. I have helped bag on crowded days when there were long lines, but does this align with the quality shopping experience that is associated with the Whole Foods brand?
Can Amazon address these things? Do they have expertise to host strong healthy living programs? Culinary medicine workshops? The same mind for social responsibility? It surely has a model storage and delivery experience that has the chance to increase efficiency for Whole Foods. Surely that’s a great way to cut costs, maintain food quality, and maybe return a few dollars to shoppers.