Conglomeration Fascination

whole foods

First Sirius and XM, and now there’s a merger of Wild Oats and Whole Foods! Apparently, it’s because the natural foods supermarkets are experiencing so much pressure from other retailers who sell organic food, like Wal-Mart. For an in-depth businessey analysis, check this out.

On one hand, Whole Foods has been opening LEED-certified stores, so when it remodels the old Wild Oats stores, maybe they’ll make them more energy-efficient and all that good stuff. On the other, why remodel stores that are perfectly fine as-is? And what about good old-fashioned competition? To only have one natural-foods supermarket (I’m talking the big ones here, not the smaller places like Mrs. Green’s) in the whole country seems like a bad idea, for both consumers and natural products companies. If your companies’ stuff is not in Whole Foods now (all the markets will now be called Whole Foods), you’re screwed.

Of course, I’m all for supporting a smaller, local natural foods market, but in my area the larger stores were the only place to get certain things, like large bottles of agave, a selection of organic chocolate, my favorite tofu bologna and natural makeup. (I guess I can order off the internet, but then I think about the shipping, the packaging, etc. Isn’t it less wasteful to go to a store rather than order online?)


Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.