The biggest retail news of the decade – or more – hit early Friday, when Seattle-based Amazon announced it planned to buy Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion cash.
Analysts speculated. Hyperbole about the changing face of grocery abounds.
I didn’t see a whole lot about the fresh produce angle.
Fresh typically is where retailers hang their hats, and it’s no surprise that the disruptors to traditional grocery do it with fresh offerings. Think Sprouts Farmers Market and even hard discounters like Aldi and now Lidl: they’re hitting fresh produce hard. Even Dollar General, with its 13,000+ stores is dabbling in produce.
Where has Amazon, and e-grocery taken a back seat?
With the Whole Foods Market purchase, Amazon not only has 430 new locations for its Amazon Fresh pickup and delivery hubs, they also have thousands of new employees who are trusted and well versed in fresh produce sourcing, handling and selection.
That’s a huge benefit for Amazon. They had a major learning curve moving from delivering cardboard boxes to doorsteps. Think of all the training and recruiting they DON’T have to do now that they will have Whole Foods staffers integrated in the mix.
Who do you think consumers trust more to pick their produce?
Amazon or Whole Foods?
The Generation Z panel at United FreshMKT last week told us a lot about how the next generation of grocery shoppers felt about Amazon delivering their produce. All of these kids sneered at the thought of Amazon dropping fresh produce on their doorstep (though drones might make it cooler…).
What a paradigm shift for them to think now that Whole Foods would be handling their produce, with logistics provided by Amazon.