Amazon said Thursday it anticipated closing its deal to acquire Whole Foods Market on Monday — and would waste little time making its influence felt.
Whole Foods Market stores will offer lower prices starting Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples across its stores, while Amazon will embark on a plan to have Amazon Prime take over the Whole Foods’ loyalty program with the goal of providing “special savings and in-store benefits” for Prime shoppers.
Amazon also said it would make Whole Foods’ private label products available through its virtual shopping channels and install lockers in select Whole Foods stores to facilitate delivery of online orders.
“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone. Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality — we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a statement.
“To get started, we’re going to lower prices beginning Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples, including Whole Trade organic bananas, responsibly-farmed salmon, organic large brown eggs, animal-welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, and more. And this is just the beginning — we will make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program at Whole Foods Market and continuously lower prices as we invent together. There is significant work and opportunity ahead, and we’re thrilled to get started.”
Amazon announced the deal to acquire Whole Foods in June for $13.7 billion. Its announcement Thursday confirmed speculation that it would use the deal as a means to more tightly integrate the physical and digital shopping worlds, while shoring up a longstanding deficiency in price perception at Whole Foods, while accelerating a nascent loyalty program.
“It’s been our mission for 39 years at Whole Foods Market to bring the highest quality food to our customers,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO. “By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food. As part of our commitment to quality, we’ll continue to expand our efforts to support and promote local products and suppliers. We can’t wait to start showing customers what’s possible when Whole Foods Market and Amazon innovate together.”
Summarizing the changes expected to begin Monday:
• Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices on a selection of best-selling staples across its stores, “with more to come.” The company did not say the amount by which prices would fall or specify the number of products affected but mentioned Whole Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic large brown eggs, organic responsibly farmed salmon and tilapia, organic baby kale and baby lettuce, animal welfare-rated 85% lean ground beef, creamy and crunchy almond butter, organic Gala and Fuji apples, organic rotisserie chicken, 365 Everyday Value organic butter, “and much more,” would see reductions;
• After certain technical integration work is complete, Amazon Prime will become Whole Foods Market’s customer rewards program, providing Prime members with special savings and other in-store benefits;
• Whole Foods’ private label products—including 365 Everyday Value, Whole Foods Market, Whole Paws and Whole Catch—will be available through Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry and Prime Now; and
• Amazon Lockers will be available in select Whole Foods Market stores. Customers can have products shipped from Amazon.com to their local Whole Foods Market store for pick up or send returns back to Amazon during a trip to the store.