Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods has many people wondering what will happen to opposing businesses, as the e-commerce Goliath appears to be destroying their competitors much like Arya Stark annihilating all of House Frey. Another pressing issue, and one that could make consumers more fearful of this deal is the number of questions surrounding how Amazon buying Whole Foods could impact the quality of the food we eat.
The first thing that comes to mind is how the acquisition could impact Whole Foods’ house brand 365. As Fortune points out, 365 isn’t available online or in any store other than Whole Foods. But once Amazon owns it, the brand moves out of the brick-and-mortar and expands onto the web. This, in turn, could expand Whole Foods’ organic-centric brand to more consumers than ever before. Instead of having to hunt down a store in order to get top-of-the-line Whole Foods’ products, you can simply use your Amazon Prime account.
On the flip side, the expansion could also impact the quality of the food. Would the mass production of brands like 365 put Whole Foods’ promise of using “clean and quality ingredients” in jeopardy? A similar situation took place earlier this year when Safeway took over several Bay Area-based Andronico’s Community Markets and re-stocked the shelves with more Safeway brand foods — a prime complaint was the decrease in product quality.
It should also be noted that Amazon has tried its hand at groceries before. Could the Whole Foods acquisition be yet another way to push their own big brand forward?
There’s also the issue of making organic produce more readily available. As Civil Eats points out, less than 1% of domestic fields are certified organic, which wouldn’t be nearly enough to supply the large demand that Amazon is surely planning to serve. Would that mean less access to organic and high-quality produce? (Especially when you consider farmers markets could suffer greatly if grocery shopping goes the way of e-commerce.)
These are questions that remain unanswered as Amazon tries to make its grocery store dreams a reality, so we’ll have to wait to find out.