The news is especially jaw-dropping considering Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told Texas Monthly just last week that he was not looking to sell, saying, “These people, they just want to sell Whole Foods Market and make hundreds of millions of dollars, and they have to know that I’m going to resist that. That’s my baby. I’m going to protect my kid, and they’ve got to knock daddy out if they want to take it over.”
Amazon is acquiring the organic grocery chain for a whopping $13.7 billion.
The details of what happened to, er, daddy are still unclear. As of now, Mackey has not released a statement regarding the sale, and a representative from Whole Foods has not yet responded to requests for comment. However, the chain did release an official statement saying, "Amazon is an innovative company and we are excited for the partnership. We believe it presents an incredible opportunity to take Whole Food Market's mission and purpose to new levels."
At least this much is clear: Whole Foods has a base of loyal, health-conscious customers who are willing to fork over their paycheck for artisanal granola and coconut yogurt (guilty as charged).
Amazon, meanwhile, has been trying to get into the food game for a while now. Beyond launching Amazon Fresh, which allows online shoppers to get fresh groceries delivered to their door, they opened the first no-checkout line grocery store. (You just scan everything you want using the Amazon app and just walk out the door.)
So what exactly does the sale mean as far as your food shopping in concerned? For starters, Mackey isn't going anywhere—he'll still be running the show at Whole Foods (at least, for now). But what will likely change is how quickly your groceries will be delivered when you shop online. After all, that's Amazon's bread and butter (so to speak). Bloomberg reports that the reason why Amazon was interested in acquiring Whole Foods in the first place was to have a bigger distribution network for groceries.
“Amazon clearly wants to be in grocery, clearly believes a physical presence gives them an advantage,” analyst Michael Pachter tells the news outlet. “I assume the physical presence gives them the ability to distribute other products more locally. So theoretically you could get 5-minute delivery.” Kombucha and vegan cheese to your door faster than takeout? What a time to be alive.
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