Online Giant Now Offers Groceries

By: 
Kirt Ramirez

It’s official; Amazon owns Whole Foods.

In a major acquisition, the online giant’s ownership of the health-food chain became official Monday, Aug. 28. Day-one saw the slashing of selected items at Whole Foods Markets nationwide, including at Long Beach’s 6550 E Pacific Coast Hwy location.

However, some customers didn’t see dramatic differences.

“It’s a surprising experience,” said customer Roger Civalleri, after inspecting prices with his wife the morning discounts were unveiled. “There seems to be no change.”

The Long Beach resident said it will be interesting to see what changes will take place in the future. He added he enjoys Whole Foods and the healthy products it provides.

“We’re lucky to have one around the corner,” he said. “It’s good stuff, especially if they lower the prices.”

Perhaps not blatantly apparent, a tour of Whole Foods revealed markdowns indicated by yellow and orange labels.

Various products got temporary price reductions (yellow labels) while others made by Whole Foods/Amazon received long-lasting price cuts (orange labels).

For instance, a jar of almond butter regularly priced at $9.99 will be $6.99 from Aug. 23 until Sept. 12.

Organic agave syrup normally at $5.49 went to $4.49, also until Sept. 12.

A $14.99 container of ground gourmet coffee dropped to $11.99 until Sept. 12.

A hydrating coconut lime body wash was marked down a dollar until Sept. 26.

Alive! Women’s Gummy Vitamins went from $15.99 to $11.99 until Sept. 26.

A dollar came off an organic Greek yogurt until Sept. 12.

However, some in-house brands received long-term “new lower price” reductions.

A dozen of cage-free, non-organic white and brown eggs by Whole Foods and Amazon Market’s 365 Everyday Value brand went from $3.69 to $2.99.

The organic version changed from $4.99 to $3.99.

Whole Foods/Amazon organic milk went from $6.59 a gallon to $5.99.

The non-organic version remains at $3.59.

However, “Organic Valley” brand milk was not discounted and stayed at $8.49 a gallon for all versions.

Another orange ticket: “Low Price, Great Quality” showcases low prices but does not give a before price.

For example, a 16 ounce bag of organic sweet yellow corn is $1.99.

In an Amazon and Whole Foods Market company press release announcing the acquisition, it reads “… and the two companies will together pursue the vision of making Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone. As a down payment on that vision, Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices starting Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples across its stores, with more to come.”

In addition, Amazon Prime will be integrated to offer special savings and in-store benefits, the release states.

“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a press release statement. “Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards.”

He added, “And this is just the beginning – we will make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program at Whole Foods Market and continuously lower prices as we invent together. There is significant work and opportunity ahead, and we’re thrilled to get started.”

Whole Foods Market will keep its name and remain headquartered in Austin, Texas. Co-founder John Mackey will continue as CEO.

“It’s been our mission for 39 years at Whole Foods Market to bring the highest quality food to our customers,” Mackey said in a press release statement. “By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food.”

The press release promotes, “Customers will enjoy lower prices on products like Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly-farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic Gala and Fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken, 365 Everyday Value organic butter, and much more.”

In addition, Whole Foods Market’s private label products, including 365 Everyday Value, Whole Foods Market, Whole Paws and Whole Catch, will be available through Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry and Prime Now.

Select Whole Foods stores will get Amazon Lockers in the future where customers can have products shipped from Amazon.com to their local Whole Foods Market for pick up or send returns back to Amazon while visiting the store.

“This is just the beginning – Amazon and Whole Foods Market plan to offer more in-store benefits and lower prices for customers over time as the two companies integrate logistics and point-of-sale and merchandising systems,” the release states.

The purchase of Whole Foods cost Amazon $13.7 billion, according to Bloomberg News.

Various other stores are expected to lower grocery prices to compete as a result.

kirt@beachcomber.news

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