The new face of Whole Foods

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Juliana Collins '19

Amazon officially announced their intentions to integrate their business with grocery chain store Whole Foods Market June 16. Towards the end of August, the deal went into full effect and introduced a more consumer-friendly shopping experience for the sole purpose of incorporating healthier produce into their stores. By blending together both electronic-commerce and in-store purchases, the integration of these two businesses will reach all consumers, creating a positive impact on nutrition by implementing high quality and affordable organic foods both online and in-stores.

Whole Foods receipts show price decreases before and after the deal.
Courtesy of The New York Times. 

Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer of Worldwide Consumer Mr. Jeff Wilke hopes to lower the prices on staple goods such as rotisserie chickens, ground beef, and kale to make healthier food options affordable for everyone, according to eater.com.
After these price cuts, Whole Foods noticed an increase in customer purchasing by 25 percent, according to bloomberg.com. In a statement released by Amazon, Mr. Wilke discusses the results of these price cuts.  
“To get started, we’re going to lower prices beginning Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples, […] and continuously lower prices as we invent together,” Mr. Jeff Wilke said August 28 in a press release.
A new online addition, Amazon Locker, an Amazon delivery service, will ship foods and products to a local Whole Foods store near the consumer. Amazon Locker is convenient for Amazon users, allowing them to track the exact arrival of their package, according to pcworld.com
Critics of the new Amazon-Whole Foods Deal are focusing on the negative impacts workers in the grocery industry will face . Amazon and Whole Foods recently created Amazon Go, a technology eliminating the cashier position, to primarily cut down the lines at Whole Foods.
Large businesses such as Amazon and Whole Foods often devalue the hands-on work that the employees contribute to the success of the business. Whole Foods, being the 30th largest retailer in the United States, offers many benefits to its employees. Unfortunately, with these new technologies Whole Foods employees will be replaced, losing many of their benefits such as a 20 percent discount on produce according to washingtonpost.com.  
The Amazon-Whole Foods Deal lowered prices on produce such as bananas.
Courtesy of cnbc.com.

However, a new technology such as a cashier-less kiosk will still require an attendee to assist with this new resource. The kiosk may be running slowly or confusing to those first using this new process. Therefore, there will still be a need for cashiers working and attending these technologies allowing Amazon and Whole Foods to continue to provide jobs. 
Many customers are not acclimated to online shopping and still enjoy coming into the stores and interacting with workers. In an interview with The Washington Post, Ms. Rebeka Ryvola, a 30-year-old World Bank employee shared her thoughts on in-store shopping.
“I just love interacting with people. I get connections with people here, and I hope that doesn’t change,” Ms. Ryvola said, according to washingtonpost.com. 
The financial needs of the workers will continue to be met through Amazon and Whole Foods’ collaboration and by the companies’ commitment to finding new job opportunities for their employees. Amazon Locker will provide jobs in other areas of the company such as marketing and distribution. By increasing the use of this new online delivery service, this new deal hopes to provide more jobs in different areas of the company to combat the initial decrease of in-store jobs. 
Despite the challenges Amazon and Whole Foods will continue to face in regards to creating more jobs, this integration of businesses will ultimately continue to meet the needs of customers and workers by listening to their concerns and remembering the importance of their roles in the success of the business. Overall, this merge is beneficial because it will improve the grocery shopping experience while also making healthier food options more accessible to consumers. 
– Juliana Collins, Sports & Health Editor