I've had it on my list to write something about Amazon buying out Whole Foods for over $13 billion. After doing a little reading myself, here are a few thoughts...
Forbes contributor Bruno Aziza discusses the many facets of Amazon using Whole Foods' brick-and-mortar presence to collect additional data that can predict profitable sales trends. All this time, I thought that Whole Foods was kind of like Apple in that it gave us what we didn't know we wanted. I didn't know what I was missing out on until I had a smart phone. Similarly, I didn't know kale was the new spinach until Whole Foods starting marketing it like nobody's business.
A New York Times article highlights Whole Foods' competition as Safeway, Costco and Walmart. Tricky, indeed, for Whole Foods and Amazon alike. I enjoy those times I get produce from Costco. I get more of the same (organic) product for less. On the flip side, I usually err on the side of shopping at Whole Foods for the convenience. Since the stores aren't huge, I can in short order find everything food-related that I need without walking two miles. I think Amazon knows this. They've been dabbling in the grocery market for some time now as it's clear people will pay for grocery delivery (or pick-up or shopping). They want to fix a problem that all of us busy working professionals and stay-at-home moms with screaming toddlers have.
Joshua Rothman paints a fairly dire picture of an Amazon lifestyle takeover in his New Yorker article, "What Amazon's Purchase of Whole Foods Really Means." All in all, I'm not too worried. People are still people. We need human interaction, and there are several trends over the last few years that prove how we'll continue to use public places to socialize (even with food and drink). I've been a part of a mom meal prep group. After cooking 24 meals in one day to later swap with other moms, I'd be down for grocery delivery of the ingredients. How about urban and community garden trends? They're out there and thriving. Chains like Royal Blue Grocer and Caviar and Bananas keep us in both coffee and specialty foods.