- Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market in 2017 for $13.7 billion.
- Prior to the purchase, Whole Foods had seen sales decline for several quarters.
- Warren Buffett and Albertsons were two other potential buyers who said no to the opportunity.
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Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market in 2017 for $13.7 billion after the grocery store chain ran into some financial trouble and was looking for a buyer.
Whole Foods Market founder and CEO John Mackey wrote in his 2020 book “Conscious Leadership” that the grocery chain had seen declining sales for several quarters prior to the purchase, and that activist investors had planned an acquisition.
Mackey felt that such an acquisition would ruin the Whole Foods brand, so he looked for a buyer. After refusals from billionaire Warren Buffett and grocery chain Albertsons, he contacted Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who bought the company.
The hope was that Amazon would help Whole Foods advance its e-commerce business, Mackey wrote.
Amazon and Whole Foods announced a shared goal of “making healthy and organic food affordable for everyone,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a 2017 news release about the acquisition.
Wilke said Amazon has promised to lower Whole Foods’ prices while maintaining the brand’s commitment to high-quality, natural and organic food.
In 2022, Chief Operating Officer Jason Buechele took over as CEO of Whole Foods. He has said he plans to add more Amazon innovations to Whole Foods, including cashier-free Just Walk Out technology and in-store smart shopping carts.
How long has Whole Foods been around?
According to the company’s website, Whole Foods was founded in Austin, Texas in 1978 by Mackey and Renee Lawson and the first store opened two years later, when there were few natural foods supermarkets in the US.
By 1984, the company began expanding beyond Austin and continued to grow. It went public in 1992 at a price of $2.13 per share.
Today, Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the US, Canada and the UK, according to the company.
How has Amazon’s acquisition changed Whole Foods?
Amazon has centralized most of Whole Foods’ operations at its Austin headquarters and expanded online ordering and delivery, including opening more “dark stores” to fulfill online orders.
Whole Foods’ private label, 365, also got a facelift in 2020 and dozens of new products were added to the line.
What is the difference between Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods on Amazon?
Amazon Fresh is an online and brick-and-mortar grocery store featuring everyday products, including brands most consumers are familiar with. Whole Foods focuses on healthy, organic and often more expensive products.
Both Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods offer in-store shopping and online ordering for pickup or delivery. Orders can be placed on the Amazon website. Whole Foods has several other physical locations.
Can you buy Whole Foods on Amazon?
According to the company, Amazon Prime members can shop at Whole Foods on Amazon.com for delivery and free pickup in certain ZIP codes.
Can I use my Amazon Prime membership at Whole Foods?
Prime members have access to weekday sales and deals both online and in-store. At Whole Foods stores, shoppers can scan the barcode on their Whole Foods or Amazon app to access the deals. Additionally, Amazon Prime members can purchase Whole Foods on Amazon.com for delivery or pickup.