Whole Foods is possibly the icon of ’00s indulgence. Nothing was too ridiculous or expensive for its loyal throngs of shoppers: Pre-peeled oranges, the baffling concept of the “produce butcher,” and of course, asparagus water. But the white nonsense party is over, because Whole Foods is being bought out by, of all companies, Amazon.
Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon will spend nearly $14 billion dollars to buy out Whole Foods. Nor is this a merger: Amazon is straight up eating Whole Foods alive, paying $42 a share for the company. In a way, this isn’t surprising, on the part of either of them. Amazon has been pushing hard to sell you apples and Pop Tarts, to the point of paying you $65 to take a widget you ask for food and use to scan barcodes. Whole Foods, meanwhile, has seen better days; sales have been declining for a year and a half, as it becomes clear shoppers view heading to Whole Paycheck isn’t worth it when they’ve got pennies to pinch.
While Amazon has toyed with the idea of opening physical stores, they’re a company that, to this point, is a mail order and delivery business, making this an unusual fit. And delivery is probably going to be a centerpiece of Whole Foods. It also seems likely that Whole Foods’ organic, fancy sales pitch, and the psuedoscience that anchors it, is about to set sail. Amazon has made it clear in its strategy that it wants to sell you conventional food, and Whole Foods was open to this buyout in part because it’s a luxury brand in decline. Just how Whole Foods’ remaining fans will take this remains to be seen.