Changes were to be expected when it was announced that Amazon had acquired Whole Foods, however, it seemed from initial comments by the grocer’s Co-Founder and CEO John Mackey that it was a match made in business interest heaven.
Known for its high standards in inventory, as well as a strict policy against food containing artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats, Whole Foods might be forfeiting that stance in its parent company’s pursuit to lower prices and maintain income, according to Yahoo Finance.
After Amazon’s takeover, Whole Foods reported a 4.4% increase in sales for the quarter ending Sept. 24, 2017 from a year earlier—the biggest in two years—the report noted, stating that Amazon’s plan to change Whole Foods’ shelves is a key effort of the e-commerce giant’s initiative to make Whole Foods profitable.
While there are rumors of Coca Cola being one of the new SKUs, previously unthinkable to Whole Foods, the retailer’s Senior VP of Communications, told Business Insider that the company's culture will "naturally evolve" under Amazon.
"Working together with Amazon has allowed us to lower some prices and bring our natural and organic food to more people, without compromising our industry-leading quality standards," Buchanan said. "While our culture will naturally evolve, the fundamentals of Whole Foods Market—our high-quality standards and our team members' passion, spirit of innovation, philanthropy, and commitment to exceptional customer experience—will always be part of who we are and how we do business."
In a separate interview with Yahoo Finance, when asked specifically about whether Whole Foods might add “consumer packaged goods like Coca-Cola,” Buchanan was steadfast.
“As you know, we have really high-quality standards, and those products that you just mentioned don’t meet those quality standards. If there were new products that actually do meet our quality standards, then there’s always that consideration,” the communications executives commented.
Amazon declined to comment to Yahoo Finance at the time of this article.
The news source did note that other popular brands associated with items previously banned by Whole Foods have then come up with healthier alternatives the grocer let through, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay for example. The company developed organic Doritos marketed under the name “Simply,” which meet all the criteria, Bloomberg reported last year.
Will we see Whole Foods shelves shaping to be more similar to that of conventional retail brands, and what would that mean for our industry? Deli Market News will continue to report.